Alkyl Halides

The Alkyl halides or haloalkanes appear as an alkane that has had one or more of its hydrogens replaced by a member of the halogen family found in group 7 of the periodic table.

As a group this class of organic compounds has the general formula R-X.

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The term “R” refers to the alkyl group and the “X” stands for the halogen.

The rules for naming this class of compounds is similar to naming the alkanes in that the halogen is treated as the smallest sidechain and should be addressed if its position could be confused.

The simplest of the alkyl halides would include the compound chloromethane (methyl chloride).

The continued replacement of the hydrogens in methyl chloride by chlorination would eventually yield methyl trichloride (trichloro methane).

When the final hydrogen is replaced with chloride the result would be methyl tetrachloride (tetrachloromethane). This is commonly referred to as carbon tetrachloride or carbon tet.

Carbon tetrachloride is a very good organic solvent and is nonflammable so it was also using fire extinguishers at one time.

Unfortunately, its vapors are very toxic and can cause death.

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