Chloroacetic acid, also known as monochloroacetic acid (MCA), is an organochlorine compound with the formula ClCH 2 CO 2 H. It is a colorless or white crystalline solid that is soluble in water and organic solvents. It has a pKa of 2.87, making it a strong organic acid.
Chloroacetic acid is an important reagent in organic synthesis, as it can be used to introduce a carboxylic acid group or a chlorine atom into various molecules. Some of the products derived from chloroacetic acid are:
Indigoid dyes, such as indigo and thioindigo, which are used for coloring textiles, paints and cosmetics.
Glycine, an amino acid that is involved in protein synthesis and metabolism.
Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), a water-soluble polymer that is used as a thickener, stabilizer and binder in food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a herbicide that is widely used for weed control in agriculture and forestry.
Chloroacetyl chloride, an intermediate for the synthesis of insecticides, fungicides and pharmaceuticals.
Chloroacetic acid can be prepared by several methods, such as:
Chlorination of acetic acid in the presence of acetic anhydride as a catalyst.
Hydrolysis of chloroacetyl chloride in water or alkali solution.
Oxidation of trichloroethylene with sulfuric acid.
Chloroacetic acid is a hazardous substance that can cause severe burns and damage to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. It can also be mutagenic and carcinogenic in animals and humans. Therefore, it should be handled with care and proper protective equipment.