3D model (JSmol)
|Molar mass||246.48 g/mol (anhydrous) |
372.58 g/mol (heptahydrate)
|Appearance||fine white powder|
|Melting point|| 817 °C (1,503 °F; 1,090 K) (anhydrous) |
90 °C (heptahydrate, decomposes)
|Boiling point||1,727 °C (3,141 °F; 2,000 K)|
|100 g/100 ml|
|Solubility||soluble in alcohol|
|hexagonal (UCl3 type), hP8|
|P63/m, No. 176|
|Tricapped trigonal prismatic|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
Cerium(III) chloride (CeCl3), also known as cerous chloride or cerium trichloride, is a compound of cerium and chlorine. It is a white hygroscopic solid; it rapidly absorbs water on exposure to moist air to form a hydrate, which appears to be of variable composition, though the heptahydrate CeCl3·7H2O is known. It is highly soluble in water, and (when anhydrous) it is soluble in ethanol and acetone.
Preparation of waterless CeCl3
A useful form of anhydrous CeCl3 can be prepared if care is taken to heat the heptahydrate gradually to 140 °C (284 °F) over many hours under vacuum. This may or may not contain a little CeOCl from hydrolysis, but it is suitable for use with organolithium and Grignard reagents. Pure waterless CeCl3 can be made by dehydration of the hydrate either by slowly heating to 400 °C (752 °F) with 4–6 equivalents of ammonium chloride under high vacuum, or by heating with an excess of thionyl chloride for three hours. The waterless halide may alternatively be prepared from cerium metal and hydrogen chloride. It is usually purified by high temperature sublimation under high vacuum.
Cerium(III) chloride can be used as a starting point for the preparation of other cerium salts, such as the Lewis acid, cerium(III) trifluoromethanesulfonate, used for Friedel-Crafts acylations. It is also used itself as a Lewis acid, for example as a catalyst in Friedel-Crafts alkylation reactions.
Luche reduction of alpha, beta-unsaturated carbonyl compounds has become a popular method in organic synthesis, where CeCl3·7H2O is used in conjunction with sodium borohydride. For example carvone gives only the allylic alcohol 1 and none of the saturated alcohol 2. Without CeCl3, a mixture of 1 and 2 is formed.
Another important use in organic synthesis is for alkylation of ketones, which would otherwise form enolates if simple organolithium reagents were to be used. For example, compound 3 would be expected to simply form an enolate without CeCl3 being present, but in the presence of CeCl3 smooth alkylation occurs: 
- Several great producers such as Alfa and Strem list their products simply as a "hydrate" with "xH2O" in the formula, but Aldrich sells a heptahydrate.
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