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Chloroform Formula – Structure, Properties, Uses, Sample Questions

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  • Last Updated : 27 Apr, 2022

Chloroform is a trichloromethane derivative that is colorless, volatile and has an ether-like odour. Chloroform was once employed as an inhalation anesthetic during the surgery, but it is now mostly utilized in the industry as a solvent and in the manufacturing of refrigerant freon. Chloroform is a colorless, transparent liquid with a distinctive odour. Chloroform is a white liquid with a somewhat sweet taste and a nice, non-irritating odor. It will only burn if the temperature rises to really high levels. Chloroform was once utilized as an inhalation anesthetic during the surgery, however, that is no longer the case. Chloroform is still used to produce other compounds today, and it may also be made in tiny amounts by adding chlorine to the water.

What is Chloroform?

Chloroform is a chemical compound, it consists of 1 carbon atom, 1 Hydrogen atom, and 3 Chlorine atoms. It is a colourless strong liquid. It is prepared from Methane (CH4), 3 hydrogen atoms in Methane are replaced by Chlorine atoms. It is a powerful anesthetic and sedative agent and the chemical formula is CHCl3.

Other names are Methane trichloride, Methyl trichloride, Methenyl trichloride, and Methenyl chloride.

Preparation of Chloroform

It is prepared by heating a mixture of chlorine and Methane or Chloromethane as, 

CH4 + Cl2    ⇢    CH3Cl + HCl

CH3Cl + Cl2    ⇢     CH2 Cl2 + HCl

Structure of Chloroform

Chloroform consists of 1 carbon atom, 1 Hydrogen atom, and 3 Chlorine atoms. It is prepared from Methane (CH4), 3 hydrogen atoms in Methane are replaced by Chlorine atoms. It is a powerful anesthetic and sedative agent and the chemical formula is CHCl3.

Structure of Chloroform

Properties of Chloroform

Physical Properties of Chloroform

  • Chloroform is a Colourless liquid with a pleasant ethereal odour which leads to olfactory fatigue.
  • The density of Chloroform is 1.564g.cm3 at -20°C, 1.489g.cm3 at 25°C.
  • The Melting point of Chloroform is -63.5°C (or) -82.3°F.
  • The Boiling point of Chloroform is 61.15°C (or) 142.07°F and decomposes at 450°C.
  • Chloroform is soluble in benzene, Miscible in alcohol and diethyl ether.
  • The refractive index of Chloroform is 1.4459 at 20°C.  
  • The Molar mass of Chloroform is 119.37 g/mol. 
  • The molecular shape of Chloroform is tetrahedral.

Chemical Properties of Chloroform

Chloroform reacts with sodium hydroxide and forms sodium acetate, sodium chloride, and water.

CHCl3 + 4 NaOH   ⇢   NaOOCH + 3 NaCl + 2 H2O

On oxidation of chloroform gives phosgene and hydrochloric acid.

2 CHCl3 + O2   ⇢   2 COCl2 + 2 HCl

Uses of Chloroform

  • Iodine, alkaloids, lipids, and other compounds are dissolved in trichloromethane.
  • Chloroform is primarily utilized in the production of the R-22 Freon refrigerant. R-22 has been phased out as a refrigerant in industrialized nations due to global warming, although it remains in high demand in underdeveloped countries due to its ease of availability and manufacture.
  • Since its effects were recognized, it has been utilized as a common anesthetic during medical procedures. Due to its anesthetic properties, even criminals utilize this substance to knock out their victims.
  • Breathing air containing 900 parts per million of chloroform has been linked to dizziness, headaches, and weariness.
  • After the poisonous nature of this substance was identified, as well as its adverse effects on the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, it was replaced as an anesthetic by safer alternatives.
  • Phosgene is responsible for the toxic properties of this chemical.
  • When chloroform is oxidized in the presence of light, it generates phosgene, an extremely deadly gas.
    This is why chloroform should be kept in airtight dark-colored bottles that are entirely filled so that it does not come into touch with air.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: What is the nature of chloroform?


The color is measured against a 2 mL blank of distilled water with a pH range of 5.0–7.0. The deuterated chloroform is acidic if the sample solution is yellow in comparison to the blank, which is blue-green.

Question 2: What causes people to go unconscious when they are exposed to chloroform?


By interacting with the primary function of intercellular protein synthesis, chloroform can effectively render a human unconscious. Doctors use a cotton mask with a continuous drip of chloroform (or occasionally ether) on it. Furthermore, a wireframe is placed over the nose and mouth to knock someone unconscious with chloroform.

Question 3: What is the IUPAC name of chloroform?


The IUPAC name of chloroform is Trichloromethane.

Question 4: What are the effects of chloroform on the human body?


Chloroform’s effects on the human body are obvious. Shortness of breath and irritation of the nose and throat are some of the local symptoms of chloroform inhalation. Acute inhalation of this substance can cause systemic symptoms such as agitation, nausea, and vomiting, as well as ataxia, dizziness, and sleepiness.

Question 5: How can one avoid inhaling chloroform?


Chloroform is used by medical professionals and various other sectors. As a result, such individuals must guarantee that everyone else is aware of their work with chloroform. Avoid inhalation and execute all activities in a certified chemical fume hood or other appropriate ventilated enclosure throughout the job; also, avoid contact with it.

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