What Is the Name of the Covalent Compound CCl4?

CCl4 Compound Name and Facts

This is the chemical structure of carbon tetrachloride.
This is the chemical structure of carbon tetrachloride. Photodisc / Getty Images

What Is the name of the covalent compound CCl4?CCl4 is carbon tetrachloride.

Carbon tetrachloride is an important nonpolar covalent compound. You determine its name based on the atoms present in the compound. By convention, the positively-charged (cation) part of the molecule is named first, followed by the negatively-charged (anion) part. The first atom is C, which is the element symbol for carbon. The second part of the molecule is Cl, which is the element symbol for chlorine. When chlorine is an anion, it is called chloride. There are 4 chloride atoms, so the name for 4, tetra, is used. This makes the molecule's name carbon tetrachloride.

Carbon Tetrachloride Facts

CCl4 goes by many names besides carbon tetrachloride, including tetrachloromethane (IUPAC name), carbon tet, Halon-104, benziform, Freon-10, methane tetrachloride, Tetrasol, and perchloromethane.

It is an organic compound that is a colorless liquid with a distinctive sweet odor, resembling that of ether or tetrachloroethylene used by dry cleaners. It's used primarily as a refrigerant and as a solvent. As a solvent, it is used to dissolve iodine, fats, oils, and other nonpolar compounds. The compound has also been used as a pesticide and fire extinguisher.

Although carbon tetrachloride used to be widely available and used, it has been replaced by safer alternatives. CCl4 is known to cause liver failure. It also damages the nervous system and kidneys and may cause cancer. Primary exposure is via inhalation.

Carbon tetrachloride is a greenhouse gas known to cause ozone depletion. In the atmosphere, the compound has an estimated lifetime of 85 years.