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ClF3
Chlorine trifluoride was another of the extremely reactive and toxic oxidizers tested in the United States in the late 1950's. As in the other cases, it was found that the handling problems and safety risks outweighed the performance benefits. However methods of storing and using it were developed, and it found application in small Rocketdyne engines for missiles and anti-ballistic missile interceptors in the 1990's.

Chlorine trifluoride is prepared by direct combination of the elements. The 1959 ClF3 production capacity was 12 to 25 metric tons/year; this could be increased in six to eight months to 50 to 100 metric tons per year by enlarging halogen fluoride reactor capacity without incurring a shortage of fluorine. Quantities in excess of this amount would require a lead time of one year, and would involve construction of new fluorine facilities. The projected price of ClF3 $ 6.00 per kg at the existing rate.

ClF3 is available commercially in purities of 99+ per cent ClF3. The most likely impurity is hydrogen fluoride. Chlorine trifluoride is a colorless gas at atmospheric pressure and temperature. The liquid has a pale green color, while the solid is white. The odor of ClF3 has been described as both sweet and pungent, similar to chlorine or mustard. ClF3 is a toxic and corrosive oxidizing agent similar to elemental fluorine in nature. It reacts with water. ClF3 is non-flammable with air, but will support combustion with almost all organic vapors and liquids. ClF3 reacts with every element except the rare gases, nitrogen, and possibly platinum and palladium. However, at low or intermediate temperatures, a protective fluoride film is formed on certain metal surfaces, which halts further reaction. Thus, metals such as mild steel, copper, brass, steel, Monel, and nickel may be used as materials of construction.

Density: 1.830 g/cc. Freezing Point: -76 deg C. Boiling Point: 12 deg C.

More at: 9233.



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