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Science Innovation Centre · 017 · Chlorine

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Discovered in 1774 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, who mistakenly thought it contained oxygen. Chlorine was given its name in 1810 by Humphry Davy, who insisted that it was in fact an element. The pure chemical element has the physical form of a diatomic green gas. The name chlorine is derived from chloros, meaning green, referring to the colour of the gas. Chlorine gas is two and one half times as heavy as air, has an intensely disagreeable suffocating odour, and is exceedingly poisonous. In its liquid and solid form it is a powerful oxidizing, bleaching, and disinfecting agent.

This element is a part of the halogen series forming salts. It is extracted from chlorides through oxidation and electrolysis. Chlorine gas is greenish-yellow and combines readily with nearly all other elements.

Chlorine is an important chemical in water purification, in disinfectants, in bleach and in mustard gas.

Chlorine is also used widely in the manufacture of many products and items directly or indirectly, i.e. in paper product production, antiseptic, dyestuffs, food, insecticides, paints, petroleum products, plastics, medicines, textiles, solvents, and many other consumer products.

It is used to kill bacteria and other microbes from drinking water supplies.

Chlorine is involved in beaching wood pulp for paper making, bleach is also used industrially to remove ink from recycle paper.

Chlorine often imparts many desired properties in an organic compound when it is substituted for hydrogen (synthetic rubber), so it is widely use in organic chemistry, in the production of chlorates, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and in the bromine extraction.