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  • 111 Trichloroethane

    Evan or someone who is chemically competent. :-)
    What is the story on the component that was discontinued in the
    tapping fluid some years ago? Was it the above or was it
    Trichloroethylene ? and what was the main problem with it?
    We found a 5 gal can of the one in the title and there is some
    confusion as to what is what with it. Years ago there was a "sort of"
    fire extinguisher in the form of a glass bulb filled with something that
    was later found to be dangerous and they were outlawed. I thought
    it was one of these but could be mistaken. :-) (I'm mistaken a lot)
    Organic was not my best chem class. :-) I'm much more at ease
    with inorganic.
    ...Lew...

  • #2
    Both are chlorine compounds. Both will release very toxic chemicals of decomposition when exposed to high temperatures such as red hot metal or flames. Hot metal is worse because the breakdown products are not consumed in flame. Breathing only a single breath of sufficient concentration of the decomposition products is enough to cause permanent lung damage. Breathing the raw vapours isn't recommended as enough can cause liver damage but a few whiffs isn't dangerous. Getting some on a cigarette and smoking before it evaporates is enough to kill you sometimes.

    These are nasty chemicals BUT if treated with the appropriate care they can be very useful. Trichlor is the best tapping fluid there is for ferrous metal, bar none. Use a little on a tap and the difference is amazing. Let it evaporate completely, which doesn't take long, keep a window open with a fan if your workspace is small like mine. Wash your hands after using and all is well. It's a good idea to wear some gloves when handling as it will absorb through the skin.

    Yes, it can be dangerous but so are many of the chemicals we use and handle every day. Used with the appropriate education and safety measures and it has a place in the shop. We can still buy chlorinated brake cleaner here and I keep it handy for the really tough threading and tapping jobs.
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    • #3
      @Lew, I think the stuff that was used for fire extinguishers was carbon tetrachloride...which would produce phosgene gas (used as poison gas in WWI) when heated. Was a formidible de-greaser, but it was outlawed for consumer use because it was seriously dangerous. Hmm, when I was in high school you could buy it at the drug store. We had to buy it to kill bugs for a biology project, I don't remember anybody keeling over then. But it was bad stuff....

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      • #4
        1,1,1 Trichloroethane was also used as electrical contact cleaner, automotive brake cleaner, liquid 'buffer' for patching tires and off-label, makes the most fantastic wasp killer you'll ever see. Drops 'em straight down on contact! Wish I had the 5gal.
        Last edited by chipmaker4130; 06-01-2011, 02:02 AM.
        Southwest Utah

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        • #5
          It's interesting how the stuff works. I was at Castrol's metalworking fluids seminar years ago and they explained that the chlorine and sulfur based metalworking products contaminate the cutting edge and lower the affinity of the workpiece material to the cutting tool. I'm no chemist but they showed us high speed video of treated and untreated tools in the cut. You could plainly see the material grabbing and piling up at the edge of the untreated tool.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Video Man
            @Lew, I think the stuff that was used for fire extinguishers was carbon tetrachloride...which would produce phosgene gas (used as poison gas in WWI) when heated. Was a formidible de-greaser, but it was outlawed for consumer use because it was seriously dangerous. Hmm, when I was in high school you could buy it at the drug store. We had to buy it to kill bugs for a biology project, I don't remember anybody keeling over then. But it was bad stuff....

            I think the main reason Carbon Tet was banned was because of it's interaction with Alcohol in the body, a person could breath reasonable amounts with no ill effects UNTIL they decided to have a drink within a short time of using it, even a beer or two was dangerous. If someone used the Carbon Tet and then consumed even small amounts of Alcohol they could suffer severe kidney and liver damage or even complete kidney failure, this happened quite a bit back some years ago until the connection become widely known and Carbon Tet was banned for consumer use.

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            • #7
              The same will happen with ether. Quite a few years ago a famous college athlete died from sniffing ether and drinking at a party. The result was immediate and complete liver failure. He was dead in a few days.
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              • #8
                Of interest if the use of trichlorethylene by German submariners in WW2 to clean barnacles off the hull.Some would pass out from the fumes leading to its use as an inhalation anesthetic(Often self administered by women delivering babies etc by a Duke inhaler which was strapped to their wrist and when they passed out their arm would drop along with the inhaler)

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                • #9
                  It is also worth noting that chlorinated, (actually, halogenated, since bromine and iodine are included,) hydrocarbons are considered to be serious ozone layer depleters. All are bad, but the winners are Halon, a super good fire extinguisher, and methyl bromide, another fire extinguisher used in aircraft systems and all-time winning bug killer.
                  So, while these chemicals REALLY were not good for you, they were not particularly good for the world in general.
                  Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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                  • #10
                    My older brother was in the Navy back in the 60's, & trichlor was used as a common cleaner & solvent, and in vapor degreasing vats. One day the hazmat team comes into their shop un announced, moon suits & all, and take all the trichlor out the place. According to my brother, they used to wash their hands in this stuff.

                    Flash forward to the early 90's, and he's on the liver transplant list. Never drank, never smoked. Apparently this stuff eats your liver.

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                    • #11
                      We had a mechanic pass out from breathing electrical cleaner back in the late nineties after he used the stuff in a cramped area he had crawled back into, a wheel motor housing on a large diesel/electric mining truck. On the can label was a warning that it contained 1,1,1 Trichloroethane but few people bother to read warnings on labels and even of those that do most won't heed them. This guy was sick for days after the incident and if he had not of had his helper with him he probably would have died in there so the stuff is hazardous and while we can't ban stupidity some things do need to be banned so the stupid can't get them!

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                      • #12
                        Was told fifty years ago that smoking over the top of the Trike degreasing tank generated Phosgene in yer body so not to be advised. Trichlorethylene wa ssaid to be the killer so Trichlethane was a replacement.

                        The degreasers we used were heated tanks with a water cooling coil around the top rim. VERY effective at drying yer hands if they got in the "Mist".

                        Is "Perklone" now banned??

                        By 'Ell, some of us are still alive despite the bastards trying to do for us.

                        Regards Ian.
                        You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

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                        • #13
                          Like some of you, I had a 5 gallon bucket half full of tricloroETHANE on the back of my maintenance buggy. Cleaned parts in it, cleaned my hands of grease and oil filled with them damned needles from milling machines.

                          Cleaned all my tools with it, sprayed them down with WD-40 or somesuch to keep them from rusting.

                          We had a vapor degreaser, too, heated coils in the liquid, refrigerated coils at the top to condense the fumes and allow the now liquid to wash off the oils on the parts.

                          Part of the warnings on the MSDS was that it would eat the fat from under the skin, if you got it on you. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how it penetrated the skin and ate fat out from under it.. I am still going strong some 30 years after it was outlawed. Hasn't YET, destroyed my liver.

                          If you DID wash your hands in it, if you let it air dry, evaporate, it would turn your skin white. If you wiped your hands dry with a shop rag, the skin would look normal.

                          We used to fill Goldenrod oil cans with it and kill roaches in the plant with it. Plant was infested. Hit one with a squirt of trichlor, and it was tits up instantly.

                          30 or more years ago, in my basement, with wood windows, I swear I heard termites eating the wood of the Anderson basement window in my laundry. I don't know if that is possible. I have never pulled that window out to check if it has been eaten away, BUT, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the window frame and poured some trichlor into the hole, and the noise stopped. I am assuming, I know you should never do that, that the chlorine in it killed off the termites, or whatever they were, and they have not come back. Kinda like the old termite treatment, I forget the name, now outlawed, rotenone?Oh, yeah, Clordane!

                          Wish I had that 5 gallons, too.

                          Cheers,

                          George

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                          • #14
                            The original "Tap Magic" had it as a component, and you could not use it on Aluminum.
                            I did that one time, back in the 60's, and the hole turned black, and then the threads disappeared. Had to tap larger to recover the part.
                            Anyone remeber if the Tri-Clor was the reason, they came out with a Aluminum Version
                            Rich
                            Green Bay, WI

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                            • #15
                              I still use it mixed 75% trike and 25% ATF to stop it evaporating, as a tapping fluid.

                              Can't get any better stuff.

                              Just common sense, use sparingly as it's hard to get and don't drink the stuff.
                              .

                              Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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