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Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

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Eugine Whint 7/12/2005 Chemistry 5G Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (also known as Freon) are non-toxic, non-flammable and non-carcinogenic. They contain fluorine atoms, carbon atoms and chlorine atoms. The 5 main CFCs include CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane - CFCl3), CFC-12 (dichloro-difluoromethane - CF2Cl2), CFC-113 (trichloro-trifluoroethane - C2F3Cl3), CFC-114 (dichloro-tetrfluoroethane - C2F4Cl2), and CFC-115 (chloropentafluoroethane - C2F5Cl). CFCs are widely used as coolants in refrigeration and air conditioners, as solvents in cleaners, particularly for electronic circuit boards, as a blowing agents in the production of foam (for example fire extinguishers), and as propellants in aerosols. Indeed, much of the modern lifestyle of the second half of the 20th century had been made possible by the use of CFCs. Man-made CFCs however, are the main cause of stratospheric ozone depletion. CFCs have a lifetime in the atmosphere of about 20 to 100 years, and consequently one free chlorine atom from a CFC molecule can do a lot of damage, destroying ozone molecules for a long time. ...read more.


of California, Irvine identified CFCs as the major cause of ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere; this was later confirmed by satellite studies. When CFCs are released into the atmosphere, they move via air currents to altitudes ranging from 15 to 25 mi (25-40 km). There, they are dissociated by ultraviolet light as given by the reaction: CF2Cl2 � CF2Cl + Cl. The resulting free chlorine atoms (Cl) decompose ozone (O3) into oxygen (O2), Cl + O3 � ClO + O2, and are regenerated by interaction with free oxygen atoms (O), ClO + O � Cl + O2. When chlorine is regenerated, it is free to continue to break down other ozone molecules. This process continues for the atmospheric lifetime of the chlorine atom (one to two years), during which it destroys an average of 100,000 ozone molecules. Chlorine radicals are removed from the stratosphere after forming two compounds that are relatively resistant to dissociation by ultraviolet light: hydrogen chloride (HCl) ...read more.


A 1992 amendment to the treaty called for the end of CFC production in industrial countries by 1996, and by 1993 CFC emissions had dropped dramatically. Halons are organic compounds that are similar to CFCs. They contain carbon, fluorine, and bromine and may contain chlorine. Halons have been used primarily as propellants in fire extinguishers. Because of their bromine content they are even more destructive to ozone than CFCs, and an amendment to the Montreal Protocol banned their use by 1994. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are organic compounds that are similar to CFCs but less destructive to ozone. HCFCs consist of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine and fluorine. They are used as replacements for CFCs, but are to be phased out by the year 2020, as specified by the Montreal Protocol as amended, when they are expected to be replaced by hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are organic compounds that contain hydrogen, carbon and fluorine. HFCs, which do not contain chlorine, do not have any potential for the destruction of ozone, and so are suitable replacements for CFCs. ...read more.

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