Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)

Definition - What does Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) mean?

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the organic compounds primarily used as propellants in the aircraft industry, refrigerants in the cooling industry and solvents. A CFC is an organic compound that primarily contains carbon, fluorine and chlorine atoms. This is why it is abbreviated CFC.

Compounds of chlorofluorocarbons are volatile derivatives of methane, ethane and propane.

One of the most common chlorofluorocarbons is dichlorodifluoromethane (abbreviated as R-12 or Freon-12).

Prolonged use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in a daily lifestyle causes adverse impacts to the environment, such as an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide that causes the greenhouse effect on Earth and depletion of the ozone layer.

Corrosionpedia explains Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)

Chlorofluorocarbons are chemical compounds that were developed commercially in the 1930s by DuPont. Due to an immediate lack of observable harmful results on the environment, they were considered a safe, non-toxic and non-flammable substitute for harmful chemicals such as ammonia, which was used for refrigeration and propellants in the early 1930s. Without knowing the adverse effects on the Earth's climate, CFC usage grew enormously over the years.

One of the elements that make up a large portion of CFCs is chlorine, which is normally rare in the Earth's atmosphere. But it turns out that CFCs are an excellent way to introduce chlorine into the ozone layer. Chlorine reacts aggressively with oxygen molecules in the ozone layer, and with the help of ultraviolet rays from the sun, it depletes the ozone layer, allowing harmful ultraviolet rays to enter the Earth's atmosphere, which results in acid rain, health issues and a toxic environment.

Due to such adverse effects on climate conditions, the use of CFCs was banned under the Montreal Protocol. CFCs have been replaced with other products such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) including R-410A and R–134A.

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