Phosphoric trichloride is a colourless, smoky liquid with a strong characteristic odour that may resemble hydrogen chloride. From a chemical point of view it is an inorganic acid chloride. Its reaction with water is immediate and very violent, accompanied by a strong exothermic effect and the release of gadeous hydrogen chloride. Therefore, transport and storage should be carried out in tightly closed containers, protected from moisture or water.
Since phosphorus trichloride is characterised by strong corrosive properties, these packages should be made of the appropriate material, preferably of specified steel quality. Its contact with the skin can cause burns, therefore, personal protective equipment is important in working with phosphorus trichloride. Due to the high vapour pressure, phosphorus trichloride should also be protected from high temperatures.
PCl3 is a high quality intermediate/raw material. Thanks to high reactivity of phosphorus-chlorine bonds, it has become an excellent substrate for phosphoric and chlorinated chemicals, widely used in chemical industry.
Phosphorus trichloride is produced directly from phosphorus and chlorine. Thanks to the production technology used, it is characterised by high purity, with, amongst other things, a very low content of impurities in the form of phosphorus compounds at the fifth degree of oxidation (i.e., phosphorus oxychloride). This is an undeniable superiority and market advantage of this product, especially when it is used to synthesise substances with the required very high purity. In this case the low content of elemental sulphur and heavy metals such as arsenic, iron, lead, nickel, chromium and others are also important.
The reactivity of phosphorus trichloride allows it to be used in the synthesis of many chemicals. An example of this can be its broad application, among others things, for the production of plant protection products. Although PCl3 is not a substance used directly in the production of synthetic polymers, it occupies a very important place in the plastics industry. It is used as the raw material for the production of salts and esters of phosphoric acids, which are flame retardants, plastifying agents and antioxidants. Phosphorus trichloride can also be used to produce high purity phosphoric acid. As a result of the reaction of PCl3 with fatty acids, fatty acid chlorides are obtained which are used for example in the cosmetics and personal care industries.