Phosphorus oxychloride is a colourless liquid with a strong, very characteristic odour. Hydrolysis very easily occurs, which is accompanied by the release of fumes, and its products are phosphoric acid and hydrogen chloride. The reaction of phosphorus oxychloride with water is very rapid. Due to the high exothermicity of the process and the release of high amounts of suffocating hydrogen chloride, transport and storage should be carried out in tightly closed containers protected against moisture or water ingress.
The strong corrosive properties of phosphorus oxychloride have an influence on the type of packaging in which it should be stored and transported. These packages should be made of the right material, preferably the quality of steel or teflon. It is important to use personal protective equipment when working with phosphorus oxychloride, as it can cause burns when in contact with the skin. Product should be protected against temperatures that are too high (due to the high vapour pressure of the substance) and too low (as it begins to freeze below 1°C).
POCl3 is a high purity intermediate/raw material which, thanks to its high reactivity, is an excellent substrate for the synthesis of phosphorus and chlorine compounds, widely used in the chemical industry.
Phosphorus oxychloride is produced by the oxidation of phosphorus trichloride, and the production technology used gives a product of high purity, that is, containing very small amounts of phosphorus trichloride. This is the superiority and market advantage of this product, especially when used for the synthesis of substances that must be of high purity. The low elemental sulphur content as well as heavy metals such as arsenic, iron, lead, nickel, chromium, and other metals, are not without significance in this case.
The reactivity of phosphorus oxychloride makes it widely used in organic synthesis. An example is its role, amongst other things, in the production of plant protection products. Phosphorus oxychloride reacts with alcohols or phenols to form phosphorous esters, i.e., phosphates. These compounds are applied as flame retardants and plastifying agents as well as flame retardant hydraulic fluids or an additives improving lubricating properties. POCl3 can also be used as a chlorinating agent in organic synthesis.