Investigating the Chemical Characteristics of CAS Number 79-24-3


CAS Number 79-24-3, commonly known as chloroform, has been the subject of extensive scientific inquiry due to its widespread use and potential health and environmental implications. As a halogenated organic compound, chloroform exhibits unique chemical properties and reactivity that have been studied across various disciplines, including chemistry, toxicology, and environmental science. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the chemical characteristics of chloroform, including its structure, synthesis, and applications.

Structure and Synthesis:

Chloroform is composed of a central carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms and one chlorine atom, resulting in the chemical formula CHCl3. It forms a colorless liquid with a sweet odor and a density heavier than water. Historically, chloroform was synthesized by the reaction of acetone with sodium hypochlorite in the presence of a base. However, modern industrial synthesis typically involves the chlorination of methane or the hydrolysis of chloromethane.

Chemical Properties:

Chloroform exhibits unique chemical properties owing to its trihalomethane structure. It is relatively stable under normal conditions but can undergo decomposition upon exposure to heat, light, or strong bases, producing toxic byproducts such as phosgene and hydrochloric acid. Chloroform is sparingly soluble in water but readily dissolves in organic solvents like ethanol and ether. Its reactivity primarily involves nucleophilic substitution reactions, where the chlorine atom serves as a leaving group.


Chloroform has found myriad applications across various industries. Historically, it was widely used as an anesthetic agent due to its ability to induce unconsciousness and muscle relaxation. However, its volatile nature and potential for toxicity led to its replacement by safer alternatives. In industry, chloroform serves as a solvent for extracting compounds from natural products and as an intermediate in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and refrigerants.


In conclusion, CAS Number 79-24-3, or chloroform, remains a significant compound with diverse applications despite concerns regarding its safety and environmental impact. Its chemical structure, synthesis methods, and reactivity underscore its importance in organic chemistry and industrial processes. Continued research into safer alternatives and sustainable uses of chloroform is essential for minimizing its adverse effects while maximizing its utility in various fields.

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