Chemical Structure / July 20, 2018 / Isabelle Vinson
Chloroacetic acid, industrially known as monochloroacetic acid (MCA) is the organochlorine compound with the formula ClCH2CO2H. This carboxylic acid is a useful building-block in organic synthesis. Chloroacetic acid was first prepared (in impure form) by the French chemist Felix LeBlanc (1813–1886) in 1843 by chlorinating acetic acid in the presence of sunlight, and in 1857 (in pure form) by the German chemist Reinhold Hoffmann (1831–1919) by refluxing glacial acetic acid in the presence of chlorine and sunlight, and then by the French chemist Charles-Adolphe Wurtz by reacting chloroacetyl chloride (ClCH2COCl) with water, also in 1857.
It is produced on a large scale and is primarily used in the production of polymers, but also sees use in food processing, and as a process fluid in low-temperature heat-exchange applications. In the European Union, it has the E-number E1520 for food applications. For cosmetics and pharmacology, the number is E490.
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