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Chloral Chloral
Chemical name Trichloroethanal
Chemical formula CCl3CH=O
Molecular mass 147.387 g/mol
CAS number [75-87-6]
Density 1.512 g/cm3 @ 20°C
Melting point -57.5 °C
Boiling point 97.8 °C
Disclaimer and references

Chloral, also known as trichloroacetaldehyde or trichloroethanal is an organic halide discovered in 1832 by Justus von Liebig. In its pure form, it is a colourless oily liquid soluble in alcohol and ether. In water it reacts to form chloral hydrate, a sedative/hypnotic substance notorious for its use in "knockout drops" such as the Mickey Finn.

Chloral is produced by chlorination of ethanol:

4Cl2 + C2H5OH → C2HCl3O + 5HCl

Chloral reacts with chlorobenzene to form DDT (with sulfuric acid as a catalyst). This was the reaction used to produce DDT in industry.

The name "chloral" is a portmanteau of "chlorine" and "alcohol", the substances used in its preparation.

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