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What are the uses of CFC gases?

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Quick Answer

CFC gases are relatively stable compounds used as refrigerant gases in air conditioning units, freezers, refrigerators and other household appliances. Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs for short, belong to the family of chemicals characterized by hydrocarbon skeletons; the most prominent and well-known member of this family is the chemical methane. CFCs have high resistance to heat and do not decompose easily when released into the atmosphere and are generally nonflammable, tasteless, odorless and chemically stable.

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Full Answer

CFC gases, in addition to being stable and resistant to degradation, have low levels of volatility. They have boiling points close to 0 degrees Celcius and are relatively lightweight. In the aggregate, the physical properties of CFCs make them suitable for use as refrigerant gases in air conditioning units, freezers and refrigerators. The low boiling points of CFCs makes them ideal for using as blowing agents in foam plastics and other interior insulation materials. CFCs allow these foams to expand as liquid CFC boils, which prevents them from rupturing and tearing under high volumes of pressure, according to Imperial College, London. CFCs were once common additives used in aerosol cans for hair products, cleaning compounds, solvents and disinfectants; however, the same physical compositions of stability and resistance to heat and degradation makes them harmful to the environment, and as of 2014, they are being phased out and are banned in many locations.

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