Chlorine is (at room temperature) a greenish-yellow gas that can be
readily liquefied at 5170 Tarr or 6.8 atmospheres, at 20 C (68 F), and has a
very disagreeable odor. Its Element Symbol is Cl, atomic number is 17, and
atomic mass is 35.453. Chlorines melting point is -101 C or 149.8 F. The
boiling point is -34.05 C or -29.29 F, at one atmosphere pressure. Chlorine is a
member of the halogen group. Chlorine was discovered by Swedish scientist Karl
Wilhelm in 1784, but he first thought it was a compound, rather than an element.
In 1810, Sir Humphrey Davy named it Chlorine, from the Greek word meaning
Chlorine is used in bleaching agents, disinfectants, monomers (plastics),
solvents, and pesticides. It is also used for bleaching paper pulp and other
organic materials, preparing bromine, (a poisonous element that at room
temperature is a dark, reddish-brown), tetraethyl lead, and killing germs in
water, particularly in swimming pools and hot tubs.
Like every member of the halogen group, chlorine has a tendency to gain one
electron and become a chloride ion. Chlorine strongly reacts with metals to form
mostly water-soluble chlorides. Chlorine also strongly reacts with nonmetals
such as sulfur, phosphorus, and other halogens. If you were to mix hydrogen and
chlorine gases and keep them in a cool dark place, the mixture would be stable,
but if it were exposed to sunlight, it would cause a strong explosion. If a
burning candle were placed in a sealed container of chlorine, it would keep
burning, and it would produce thick, black, smoke, leaving behind soot. There
are five oxides that chlorine can form: chlorine monoxide; dichloride monoxide;
chlorine dioxide; chlorine heptoxide; and chlorine hexoxide. Chlorine is used in
bleaching agents, disinfectants, monomers (plastics), solvents, and pesticides.
It is also used for bleaching paper pulp and other organic materials, preparing
bromine, (a poisonous element that at room temperature is a dark, reddish-brown),
tetraethyl lead, and killing germs in water, particularly in swimming pools and
Electron Dot Model
Chlorine was the first substance used as a poisonous gas in World War I (1914-
1919) , along with gases like tear gas, phosgene (a lung irritant), and mustard
gas. Flame-throwers were also tried, but at first were thought ineffective
because of their short range, but when napalm (made up of palmitic and napthenic
acids), a sort of thick, sticky gasoline, was developed, flame throwers were
quite useful in World War II.
Most Chlorine is made by electrolysis of a salt solution, with a by-
product of sodium hydroxide. Some industrial chlorine is made by oxidizing
hydrogen chloride (a colorless, corrosive, nonflammable gas with a penetrating,
suffocating odor.) .
Microsoft Encarta. Copyright 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright 1994
Funk & Wagnalls Corporation.
Asimov, Isaac, Building Blocks of the Universe, rev. ed. (1974); Downs, A. J.,
The Chemistry of Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine and Astatine (1975); Hamilton, E. I.,
The Chemical Elements and Man (1978); Nechamkin, Howard, Chemistry of the
Elements (1968); Ruben, Samuel, Handbook of the Elements, 2d ed. (1967; repr.
1985); Trifonov, D. N., Chemical Elements: How They Were Discovered (1985).