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Related to diphosgene: Trichloromethyl chloroformate


(dī'fŏz`jēn), colorless liquid developed as a military poison. It boils at 128°C;; its vapors have the odor of phosgenephosgene
, colorless poison gas, first used during World War I by the Germans (1915). When dispersed in air, the gas has the odor of new-mowed hay. The gas is highly toxic; when inhaled it reacts with water in the lungs to form hydrochloric acid and carbon monoxide.
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. Diphosgene is a lung irritant but is only slightly lachrimatory. Like phosgene, its effects are often delayed. Chemically it is trichloromethylchloroformate, ClCO2CCl3.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



trichloromethyl chloroformate, Diphosgene, a colorless, heavy mobile liquid, which fumes slightly in air and has a characteristic smell of rotting hay. Melting point, -57°C; boiling point, 128°C; d415, 1.644; index of refraction nD20, 1.4566. It is poorly soluble in water but readily soluble in organic solvents. It is slowly hydrolyzed by water; the hydrolysis is considerably accelerated by heat and alkalies. Diphosgene reacts vigorously with ammonia and amines, yielding urea or its derivatives. The reaction can be used in diphosgene decontamination. At 300°-350°C, as well as in the presence of AlCl3, FeCl3, and other metal halides, diphosgene decomposes to COCl2, CO, and CCl4. Diphosgene is made by the exhaustive chlorination (under illumination) of methyl chloroformate.

Diphosgene has a powerful asphyxiating action and an appreciable irritant action. The unendurable concentration is 0.075 mg per liter; the fatal concentration, 0.25 mg per liter (30 min exposure). Diphosgene poisoning is characterized by a latent period of action (up to 6-8 hrs). Prolonged exposure to low concentrations is very dangerous, and the overall effect can result in marked damage to the organism (so-called cumulative effect). In World War I it was used as a poison.


Soborovskii, L. Z., and G. Iu. Epshtein. Khimiia i tekhnologiia boevykh khimicheskikh veshchestv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Fliuri, F., and F. Tsernik. Vrednye gazy. Moscow, 1938.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(organic chemistry)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.