Trichloroethylene (TCE) is typically produced by reacting ethylene and chlorine. One process produces tetrachloroethane, which is then reduced to trichloroethylene. The other method uses ethylene dichloride (EDC), which is then oxychlorinated, producing perchloroethylene as a by-product.

Metal cleaning and vapor degreasing have been the largest applications for trichloroethylene. It has high solvency, low flammability and corrosiveness, and several other chemical properties appropriate for this end use. The Montreal Protocol’s ban on the production of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) for solvent use in 1995 led to increased usage of TCE as a substitute, particularly where air emissions can be minimized through solvent recovery. The high stability of trichloroethylene in the presence of common chemical stabilizers and its low boiling point allow vapor degreasing to be performed with low heat consumption. TCE combines good cleaning power with energy efficiency. TCE is mostly used in closed-loop systems.


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