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Any of several chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are used in commerce
and industry. The CFCs are a group of aliphatic organic compounds
containing the elements carbon and fluorine and, in many cases, other
halogens (especially chlorine) and hydrogen. The name Freon is a
trademark registered by the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company.
is colourless, odourless, nonflammable, non-corrosive gases or liquids
of low toxicity that were introduced as refrigerants in the 1930s; they
also proved useful as propellants for aerosols and in numerous technical
applications. Their low boiling points, low surface tension, and low
viscosity make them especially useful refrigerants. The presence of
fluorine atoms in Freon molecules makes them extremely stable, inert
compounds that are entirely harmless to humans. The Freons neither
present a fire hazard nor
give off a detectable odour in their circulation through refrigerating
and air-conditioning systems. The most important members of the group
have been dichlorodifluoromethane (Freon 12), trichlorofluoromethane (Freon
11), chlorodifluoromethane (Freon 22), dichlorotetrafluoroethane (Freon
114), and trichlorotrifluoroethane (Freon 113).
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