Thionyl Chloride

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thionyl chloride

[′thī·ən·əl ′klȯr‚īd]
(inorganic chemistry)
SOCl2 A toxic, yellowish to red liquid with a pungent aroma, soluble in benzene, decomposes in water and at 140°C; boils at 79°C; used as a chemical intermediate and catalyst. Also known as sulfur oxychloride; sulfurous oxychloride.

Thionyl Chloride


(SOCl2), a colorless liquid that fumes upon exposure to air. Thionyl chloride is prepared commercially by the direct reaction of S, O2 and Cl2 at 180°–200°C (using activated carbon as a catalyst) or by the action of excess SO2 on CCl 4in the presence of AlCl3 at 150°C and pressure of about 4 meganewtons per sq m, or 40 kilograms-force per sq cm. It is used for the preparation of sulfochlorinated polymer derivatives, and also as a chlorinating agent—for example, in the manufacture of dyes and pharmaceuticals.

Thionyl chloride is toxic; it irritates the mucous membranes, causing severe burns.

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The main products manufactured are benzyl chloride, benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, benzo trichloride, benzyl acetate, cinnamaldehyde, benzyl benzoate, thionyl chloride, sulphuryl chloride and sulphur dichloride.