Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1995, 60, 104-114

Novel Products in the CO2-Laser Induced Reaction of Trichloroethylene

Boyd L. Earl and Richard L. Titus

Department of Chemistry, University of Nevada, Box 454003, Las Vegas, NV 89154-454003, U.S.A.


Previous reports on the thermal or CO2-laser induced decomposition of trichloroethylene have identified only one condensible product, hexachlorobenzene (in addition to HCl and mono- and dichloroacetylene). We have found that trichloroethylene vapor exposed to cw irradiation on the P(24) line of the (001 - 100) band of the CO2 laser at incident power levels from 8 - 17 W produces numerous products, of which the 13 major ones have been identified using IR, GC/MS, GC/FTIR, and NMR methods. All of these products have 4, 6, or 8 carbons, are highly unsaturated, and are completely chlorinated or contain a single hydrogen. C4HCl5 and C6Cl6 isomers (three of each) account for S 55% to 85% of total products (based on peak areas in the total ion chromatograms in GC/MS runs), depending on reaction conditions. In addition to characterizing the products, we discuss the dependence of the product distribution on laser power, irradiation time, and cell geometry, and we outline a possible mechanism.