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(also called ethylene chloride), ClCH2CH2C1, a colorless, mobile liquid with a smell similar to that of chloroform. Melting point, -35.9° C; boiling point, 83.5° C; density, 1.2600 g/cm3 (15° C); n15v 1.4476; flash point (open cup), 21.1° C; explosion limits in air, 6.20-15.90 percent by volume. It is poorly soluble in water (0.81 percent at 25° C) and forms an azeotrope with it (boiling point, 71.5° C; 82.9 percent dichloroethane).
Upon hydrolysis, dichloroethane yields ethylene glycol, HOCH2CH2OH. Vinyl chloride is produced upon pyrolysis or reaction with alkalies; with ammonia it gives ethylenediamine. Polysulfide rubber is produced upon heating with sodium polysulfide. Dichloroethane is made by treating ethylene with chlorine.
Dichloroethane is toxic. The maximum permissible concentration of vapor in air is 0.01 percent. It is widely used as a solvent in various industries and as a component of antiknock mixtures. It is also a fumigant and a raw material for making polysulfide rubber.