Have you ever thought about the full meaning of CFCs? Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of CFCs? Do you have an idea of what elements is CFCs made up of? Have all these been question you’ve got no answers to?
If yes, then you have come to an end of your worries because this article will give you all the answers you need to know.
Originally, CFCs are known as chlorofluorocarbons. These are simple chemicals which have been widely used in the world for refrigerants, solvents and cleaning fluids. CFCs are classified into five different categories depending upon their chemical composition.
Each category has its own special feature that makes it different from the other categories of CFCs.
In this article, we will try to explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of CFCs. We have tried our best in order to make this article as complete as possible for you.
CFCs History And Development
How Are These Chemicals Made?
The main components of CFCs are made up of carbon, fluorine and chlorine. These materials are combined with hydrogen in order to produce hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). CFCs are made up of organic compounds, which means that they do not dissolve into the water.
This makes them very useful in the production of aerosols and refrigeration systems. CFCs are highly effective when it comes to cooling things down. You can use them in air conditioning units, refrigerators and many other machinery that requires cooling devices.
Actually, in the year 1930,Thomas Midgley and his colleagues discovered that these chemicals are used for blowing up insulation for special motor vehicles. A few years later, another scientist by the name of Irving Langmuir found out that CFCs are more efficient as an insulation than the materials used before.
Thereafter, DuPont started to use CFCs in its products like refrigerator, air conditioning systems and aerosols. In 1947,CFCs were used as propellants in aerosol sprays.
In the year 1950, another scientist by the name of Mario J. Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland proposed that CFCs have a potential to destroy the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere.
But until 1985, there is no more research was carried out on CFCs because they were considered to be excellent materials. In 1985, a British scientist by the name of J.R.M Rowland carried out some experiments on these chemicals and he found that it destroys ozone layer in the upper atmosphere.
As a result, international community agreed to ban all production of CFCs after 1992 under an international treaty known as Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.
What Are CFCs?
Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), is an organic compounds composed of carbon, fluorine, and chlorine. All CFCs is a mixture of different substances but one of the major components is dichlorodifluoromethane.
When CFCs also contain hydrogen in place of one or more chlorines, they are called hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs. HCFCs are chemically different from CFCs.
You can also call CFCs as Freon because the name of CFC was given to this component by the company of DuPont, which is called Du Pont de Nemours and Company.
There is no doubt that CFCs are the most common refrigerants in the world. CFCs are used in refrigerators, air conditioners, defrosters and other appliances to make our life much easier.
Also, there is no doubt that CFCs have lots of benefits to consider. But there is also a great disadvantage with this product. CFCs are very damaging to the environment due to its long-life and high global warming potential (GWP).
As a result of this, many countries have banned or drastically reduced their use of these chemicals. China was an early adopter of the idea of banning or restricting these chemicals from being manufactured in their country.
CFCs have been shown to affect several biological systems such as biochemical pathways, central nervous system, immune system and reproductive systems. The most primary effect they have on our health is in the destruction of stratospheric ozone layer which protect us from ultraviolet rays and reduce skin cancer risk.
You cannot deny the fact that chlorofluorocarbons(CFCs) have many advantages over other compounds. If we compare the uses of these compounds with its disadvantages, then you will find that it is worth to use them rather than other compounds.
Now, we will be looking into the advantages and disadvantages of CFCs.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of CFCs
Here, we will be discussing about the advantages and disadvantages of CFCs but firstly, we will be looking into the advantages and then later the disadvantages.
The Advantages Of CFCs?
The advantages of CFCs are as follows:
- They are an excellent insulator. As a result, refrigerants are also known as coolants. This is one of the best properties of these chemicals.
- Unlike many other compounds, these chemicals have very low boiling point and melting point which makes them particularly suitable for use in refrigerators and air-conditioners.
- These chemicals have very high solvency power which makes them ideal for use in cleaning materials and dry-cleaning fluids. It is one of the reasons why we find so many dry cleaners around us with their distinctive smell.
- They can be used as propellants for aerosol sprays.
Having known the advantages of CFCs, let’s also go into the disadvantages of CFCs.
What Are The Disadvantages Of CFCs?
This is the most important and prominent disadvantage of CFCs which is that:
- They are highly damaging to the environment. CFCs are responsible for thinning the ozone layer which protects us from ultraviolet rays, skin cancer and photo-aging.
We all know how damaging ultraviolet rays can be, especially to our skin and eyes. Ozone layer provides a shield against these harmful rays of the sun. So by thinning or destroying this layer we are exposing ourselves to a lot of long-term damage.
- CFCs are also responsible for long-term damage to the ozone layer in our atmosphere. The chemical is so effective in doing this that it can take nearly ten years of exposure before the ozone layer is damaged and we will see a lot of other harmful chemicals like HFCs.
In the year 2005, it was estimated that CFCs have contributed to greenhouse gases which have caused global warming by about 0.5 °C since 1970. There is no doubt that global warming has led to more damage to our environment, especially with climate change.
- They also have a very high global warming potential (GWP). This is mainly due to the fact that they are non-biodegradable and long-lived.
How These Chemicals Are Harming Our Environment?
The CFCs are highly destructive chemicals to our environment simply because they can stay in the atmosphere for more than 50 years after they were released. Some of them may get into the water and then to the food chain, which includes plankton and fish.
CFCs present in the human body is passed on to developing children during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As a result, their gene structure gets altered.
In the year 2009, there was a study which found out that children who were exposed to CFCs in the womb had changes in their genes. Their lungs and liver contained more of these harmful chemicals. Another study carried out on mice also gave similar results.
Therefore, as you can see that CFCs are highly harmful chemicals to us and our environment. So it is very much important to restrict them from our environment in order to protect ourselves from these chemicals.
Also, before reducing the usage of these chemicals, these chemicals should also be replaced by more efficient and safer products.
A number of carbon-fluorocarbon cycle schemes are proposed to describe the relationships between atmospheric CFCs, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and ozone depletion.
We need to concentrate on finding alternative methods of cooling things down which is not harmful and damaging to our environment while also letting people know how dangerous CFCs are.
Applications Of CFCs
CFCs are widely used in refrigeration systems. They are also used in aerosols, and fire extinguishers. As well as, they are also used as a non-toxic propellant to boost room temperature air into a warmer temperature.
Undoubtedly, these chemicals have been the reason of our party life style because they help in keeping our rooms cool during hot summer days and nights.
In conclusion, it is obvious that CFCs have lots of benefits over non-harmful compounds. However, CFCs are very harmful to our environment and we need to be careful with the way in which we are using them.
Although there are other chemicals available in our market that can do the same job as CFCs but these compounds will not harm our environment and body like CFCs do.
So before getting into the use of these alternative chemicals one needs to understand their advantages and disadvantages so as to be able to make a decision on choosing a product that is safe for all concerned.
Now, you have read all the important points about CFCs and it is time for you to decide whether these chemicals are really worth using or not. I hope that now you have enough information in your mind to make an informed decision whether or not you should use these chemicals.