Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is an extremely common chemical used in a variety of industrial settings. In this blog post, we’ll explore trichloroethylene uses and more characteristics of this popular solvent.
Trichloroethylene is considered a versatile chlorinated industrial solvent, mostly because it has a wide range of uses, both in industrial and commercial applications. Here are only some of the most popular uses for TCE:
- Degreasing agent – This solvent is primarily used as a degreasing agent, particularly for metal equipment and parts, because of its ability to efficiently clean, degrease, and dissolve grease and oils. It is a popular solvent for vapor degreasing, as its non-flammability and high boiling point have made it the ideal option for the removal of stubborn grease and debris.
- Extraction processes – The textile industry has utilized trichloroethylene for the extraction of fats, oils, and waxes present in cotton, wool, and other types of fabrics.
- Refrigerant manufacturing – It is also heavily utilized in the production of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants.
- Additive – TCE is occasionally added to a range of products, including paint thinners, paint removers, cleaning wipes, carpet cleaners, adhesives, lubricants, pesticides, spot removers, and even typewriter correction fluids.
- Pharmaceutical production – TCE is also used as a chemical intermediate for pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.
- Other uses – In the past, TCE was used as a dry-cleaning solvent and as a general anesthetic.
Why TCE Usage Is Decreasing
Though widely used by multiple industries, trichloroethylene use has been slowly phased out in both industrial processes and in household products. The solvent is carcinogenic and can cause multiple health problems, such as neurological and cardiac issues. It also has the potential to leak into groundwater from storage tanks, contaminating drinking water sources and affecting unsuspecting people.
Many companies that want to protect their workers’ health worry about finding a replacement that will still perform as effectively as TCE. Luckily, there are now multiple safe options available as trichloroethylene replacements, especially for degreasing and extraction processes. Safer solvents can be biodegradable, low VOC, and even recyclable.
Interested in Safe and Eco-Friendly Chemicals?
Ecolink provides various eco-friendly, worker-friendly, and sustainable chemicals for industrial applications. Our chemicals are formulated to effectively replace hazardous solvents like trichloroethylene, that work just as well, but don’t jeopardize workers’ health and safety.