At ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure Methyl Chloride is a colourless inflammable gas heavier than air and with a very weak sweetish odour. In water it is only sparingly soluble but well in organic solvents. It can be liquefied by cooling below -24 °C or by pressurizing to approx. 5 bar at 20 °C, to give a clear, colourless fluid that will vaporize fast under room conditions generating much coldness.

Two ways of making Methyl Chloride are technically in use: chlorination of methane with chlorine or reaction of methanol with hydrogen chloride. A third route is naturally occurring: Methyl Chloride is formed by biomass burning and volcano eruptions, as well as by biochemical activities by wood-rotting fungi and certain algae and seaweed in the oceans. Globally huge amounts of natural Methyl Chloride (approximately 4 million tons per year) are released by these sources into the atmosphere.


In practice:

Methyl Chloride is used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, mainly as raw material for the production of silicones and methyl celluloses, but also for surfactants, pharmaceuticals and dye stuffs. A small portion is used as low temperature solvent for the production of butyl rubbers.