Important raw material for the chemical, pharmaceutical and water treatment industry
At ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure Methyl Chloride is a colorless inflammable gas heavier than air and with a very weak sweetish odor. In water it is only sparingly soluble but well in organic solvents. It can be liquefied by cooling below -24 °C or by pressurizing to approx. 5 bar at 20 °C, to give a clear, colorless fluid that will vaporise fast under room conditions generating much coldness.
Methyl Chloride is technically manufactured by reaction of methanol with hydrogen chloride (HCl).
In nature Methyl Chloride is formed by biomass burning and volcano eruptions, as well as by biochemical activities by wood-rotting fungi and certain algae and seaweed in the oceans. Globally huge amounts of natural Methyl Chloride (approximately 4-10 million tons per year) are released by these sources into the atmosphere. And in trace amounts Methyl Chloride is exhaled by each human being due to biochemical activities in the human body.
Methyl Chloride is used in the chemical, pharmaceutical and water treatment industry, mainly as raw material for the production of silicones and methyl celluloses and quaternary ammonium compounds used in water treatment flocculants, but also for surfactants, agro chemicals, pharmaceuticals and dye stuffs. A small portion is used as low temperature solvent for the production of butyl rubbers.