Recent advancements in the field of chlorinated paraffin analysis

May 11, 2022

Chlorinated paraffin is a complex mixture of polychlorinated n- alkanes into a broader range of degrees of chlorination and carbon chain lengths. These are artificial compounds primarily used in coolant lubricating liquids for metal work.

CPs are also used in flame retardants in plastics. Paints, runners, sealants, and adhesives apart from working as a secondary plasticizer.

Chlorinated Paraffin Wax Properties

The chlorination degree of the chlorinated paraffins can vary between 30 and 70%. The CPs have sub-divisions depending on the length of the carbon chains.
1. Short-chain CPs or SCCPs (C10-13)
2. Medium-chain CPs or MCCPs (C14-17)
3. Long-chain CPs or LCCPs (C>17)

The analysis is very challenging as there is the possibility of finding thousands of homologs and congeners. But the importance is high as there is always an increasing concern for the high-production volume and bioaccumulation potential: persistence and the toxicity of CP mixtures, especially the short-chain CPs.

Physical and chemical properties

Chlorinated paraffins are mixtures of the polychlorinated n- alkanes that you can produce through chlorine reaction and specific average paraffin fractions. Carbon-chain lengths of commercial products generally lie between C10 and C30.
1) Increasing chlorine content won't affect water solubility or octanol-water partition coefficient KOW if the concentration is below 55%.
2) Increasing the length of the carbon chain will immediately increase KOW with a corresponding decrease in the subcooled-liquid water solubility.
3) Chlorinated paraffins have stability up to 2300 C temperature.
4) Chlorinated paraffins have a synergistic relationship with the metal oxides of Group V, especially with antimony trioxide. 
5) Better UV stability owing to the lack of chromophores. 

Chlorine content is lying between 40 and 70%.

Typical uses

Chlorinated paraffins can work as effective flame retardants as well as smoke suppressants. The long-chain length and percentage of chlorine will help in determining the strength of the retardant.

The best part about the CPs being the flame retardant is the affordable price at which anyone can procure them. The manufacturing process is simple, comprising of a reaction between paraffin wax and elemental chlorine. It happens either in solution or neat, or even in an emulsion.

Is chlorinated paraffin suspicious?

Certain reports show that chlorinated paraffins are practically non-toxic in humans. The standard limit of oral dose that can be lethal in humans is beyond 15g/kg.or more than 2.2 pounds for a person weighing 70 kgs.

Short-chain chlorinated paraffins

The SCCPs or Short chained chlorinated paraffins are mixtures of a variety of chlorinated chemicals with the chain lengths varying between 10 and 13 carbons. The production process involves the chlorination of the alkanes.

These chemicals have plenty of applications.
1) The major use of the SCCPs is in the making of lubricants and coolants in the metalworking fluids.
2) You can find the use of SCCPs in the making of consumer products like the cables, toys, and electrical appliances as residues. 

Manufacturers can use these as the secondary plasticizers in the PVC and also as flame retardants in the textiles, plastics, and as fat liquoring agent in leather.

A potential chemical

Although there is no record of using chlorinated paraffin in polyolefins owing to the concerns regarding the thermal stability, these can be easily a part of the low-cost flame retardants as long as the manufacturers are not using severe processing conditions.

The above information is definitely going to be helpful when you are examining the features of chlorinated paraffin. It will provide you with the knowledge about the chemical that will always go a long way in a variety of industrial applications too.

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