Chloroacetyl chloride

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Chloroacetyl chloride
Skeletal formula
ball-and-stick model
Preferred IUPAC name
Chloroacetyl chloride
Other names
2-Chloroacetyl chloride
Chloroacetic acid chloride
Chloroacetic chloride
Monochloroacetyl chloride
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.001.065
EC Number 201-171-6
Molar mass 112.94 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless to yellow liquid
Density 1.42 g/mL
Melting point −22 °C (−8 °F; 251 K)
Boiling point 106 °C (223 °F; 379 K)
Vapor pressure 19 mmHg (20°C)[1]
Safety data sheet Oxford MSDS
Toxic T Dangerous for the Environment (Nature) N Corrosive C
Flash point noncombustible [1]
US health exposure limits (NIOSH):
PEL (Permissible)
REL (Recommended)
TWA 0.05 ppm (0.2 mg/m3)[1]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Chloroacetyl chloride is a chlorinated acyl chloride. It is a bifunctional compound, making it a useful building block chemical.


Industrially, it is produced by the carbonylation of methylene chloride, oxidation of vinylidene chloride, or the addition of chlorine to ketene.[2] It may be prepared from chloroacetic acid and thionyl chloride, phosphorus pentachloride, or phosgene.


Chloroacetyl chloride is bifunctional—the acyl chloride easily forms esters[3] and amides, while the other end of the molecule is able to form other linkages, e.g. with amines. The use of chloroacetyl chloride in the synthesis of lidocaine is illustrative:[4]

Synthesis of lidocaine.png


The major use of chloroacetyl chloride is as an intermediate in the production of herbicides in the chloroacetanilide family including metolachlor, acetochlor, alachlor and butachlor; an estimated 100 million pounds are used annually. Some chloroacetyl chloride is also used to produce phenacyl chloride, another chemical intermediate, also used as a tear gas.[2] Phenacyl chloride is synthesized in a Friedel-Crafts acylation of benzene, with an aluminium chloride catalyst:[5]

Preparation of phenacyl chloride.png


Like other acyl chlorides, reaction with other protic compounds such as amines, alcohols, and water generates hydrochloric acid, making it a lachrymator.

There is no regulated permissible exposure limit set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has set a recommended exposure limit at 0.05 ppm over an eight-hour work day.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. "#0120". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  2. ^ a b Paul R. Worsham (1993). "15. Halogenated Derivatives". In Zoeller, Joseph R.; Agreda, V. H. (eds.). Acetic acid and its derivatives (Google Books excerpt). New York: M. Dekker. pp. 288–298. ISBN 0-8247-8792-7.
  3. ^ Robert H. Baker and Frederick G. Bordwell (1955). "tert-Butyl acetate". Organic Syntheses.; Collective Volume, 3
  4. ^ T. J. Reilly (1999). "The Preparation of Lidocaine". J. Chem. Educ. 76 (11): 1557. doi:10.1021/ed076p1557.
  5. ^ Nathan Levin and Walter H. Hartung (1955). "ω-Chloroisonitrosoacetophenone". Organic Syntheses.; Collective Volume, 3, p. 191
  6. ^ "NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011.