) is an organochlorine
compound and an epoxide. Despite its name, it is not a chlorohydrin. It
is a colorless liquid with a pungent, garlic-like odor, moderately
soluble in water, but miscible with most polar organic solvents. It is a
chiral molecule generally existing as a racemic mixture of right-handed
and left-handed enantiomers. Epichlorohydrin is a highly reactive
compound and is used in the production of glycerol, plastics, epoxy
glues and resins, and elastomers. In contact with water, epichlorohydrin
hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, a carcinogen found in food.
a versatile precursor in the synthesis of many organic compounds. For
example, it is converted to glycidyl nitrate, an energetic binder used
in propellant compositions. The epichlorohydrin is reacted
with an alkali nitrate, such as sodium nitrate, producing glycidyl
nitrate and alkali chloride. It is used as a solvent for cellulose,
resins, and paints, and it has found use as an insect fumigant.