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IUPAC name 1,2-dichloroethane
Other names Ethylene dichloride
Ethane dichloride
Dutch liquid, Dutch oil
Freon 150
CAS number 107-06-2
RTECS number KI0525000
Molecular formula C2H4Cl2
Molar mass 98.96 g/mol
Appearance Colourless liquid with
characteristic odour
Density 1.253 g/cm³, liquid
Melting point

-35 °C (238 K)

Boiling point

83.5–84.0 °C (357 K)

Solubility in water 0.87 g/100 ml (20 °C)
Viscosity 0.84 mPa·s at 20 °C
Dipole moment 1.80 D
Main hazards toxic, flammable, corrosive
NFPA 704
R-phrases R11, R45, R36/37/38
S-phrases S45, S53
Flash point 17 °C
Related Compounds
Related haloalkanes methyl chloride
methylene chloride
Related compounds ethylene
vinyl chloride
polyvinyl chloride
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox disclaimer and references

The chemical compound 1,2-dichloroethane, commonly known by its old name of ethylene dichloride (EDC), is a chlorinated hydrocarbon, mainly used to produce vinyl chloride monomer (VCM, chloroethene), the major precursor for PVC production. It is a colourless liquid with a chloroform-like odour. 1,2-Dichloroethane is also used generally as an intermediate for other organic chemical compounds, and as a solvent.



In 1794, a group of four Dutch friends under the name of Gezelschap der Hollandsche Scheikundigen (Society of Dutch Chemists) consisted of physician Jan Rudolph Deerman, merchant Adriaan Paets van Troopstwijkity, chemist Anthoni Lauwerenburgest and botanist Nicolaas Bondtitigutrud. They were the first to produce 1,2-dichloroethane from olefiant gas (oil-making gas, ethylene) and chlorine gas. Although the Gezelschap in practice didn't do much in-depth scientific research, they and their publications where highly regarded. Part of that acknowledgement is that 1,2-dichloroethane has been called Dutch oil in old chemistry.


1,2-Dichloroethane has chemical formula C2H4Cl2.

Cf. 1,1-Dichloroethane (ethylidene dichloride).


Every year 17.5 million tons of 1,2-dichloroethane are produced in the United States, Western Europe and Japan.[1] This is primarily achieved through the iron(III) chloride catalysed reaction of ethene (ethylene) and chlorine.

H2C=CH2 + Cl2 → Cl-CH2-CH2-Cl

In subsequent reactions, notably to vinyl chloride (chloroethene), hydrogen chloride is formed and re-used in a copper(II) chloride catalysed reaction, to also produce 1,2-dichloroethane from ethene and oxygen.

H2C=CH2 + 2 HCl + ½ O2 → Cl-CH2-CH2-Cl + H2O


Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) production

With approximately 80% of the world's consumption of 1,2-dichloroethane, the major application is in the production of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM, chloroethene), which is the precursor to polyvinyl chloride under the formation of hydrogen chloride.

Cl-CH2-CH2-Cl → H2C=CH-Cl + HCl

The hydrogen chloride can be re-used in the production process, in the formation of more 1,2-dichloroethane (see Production).

Other Uses

As a good apolar aprotic solvent, 1,2-dichloroethane is used as degreaser and paint remover. As a useful 'building block' reagent, it is used as an intermediate in the production of various organic compounds. It is also used as a reagent as an electrophillic source of chlorine, with elimination of ethene and chloride.

Historically, it was used as an anti-knock additive in leaded fuels.


1,2-dichloroethane is toxic (especially by inhalation due to its high vapour pressure), corrosive, highly flammable,[citation needed] and possibly carcinogenic. Its high solubility and 50-year half-life in anoxic aquifers make it a perennial pollutant and health risk that is very expensive to treat conventionally, requiring a method of bioremediation.[2]


  1. ^ J.A. Field & R. Sierra-Alvarez (2004). "Biodegradability of chlorinated solvents and related chlorinated aliphatic compounds". Rev. Environ. Sci. Biotechnol. 3: 185-254.
  2. ^ S. De Wildeman & W. Verstraete (25 Mar., 2003). "The quest for microbial reductive dechlorination of C2 to C4 chloroalkanes is warranted". Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 61 (2): 94-102. doi:10.1007/s00253-002-1174-6.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "1,2-Dichloroethane". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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