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Definition of Chlorine, its Uses and Market Demand

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Chlorine (Cl) is a chemical element with the atomic number 17. At room temperature, it is a greenish-yellow gas with a pungent odour like that of bleach and can be detected at a low concentration level. It is 2.5 times denser than air. It is not flammable but can be explosive when reacted with substances like turpentine, natural gas, ether, acetylene, ammonia, hydrogen, and finely divided metals.

Chlorine can be slightly dissolved in water and form hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids when it reacts with moisture. This element is highly reactive and is a potent oxidising agent having the highest electron affinity and the third-highest electronegativity. It is used in both household and industrial cleaning products.

Chlorine has a wide range of applications, primarily as a disinfectant. It is used to disinfect water as a sanitary measure for industrial and sewage waste. Furthermore, it is used as a bleaching agent in the paper and cloth production process. In cleaning applications, chlorine is dissolved in water, like in the case of household bleach. It is used to prepare pesticides, synthetic rubbers, chlorinated solvents, chlorides, polymers, and refrigerants.

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In addition, it finds application in the manufacturing of an array of consumer products, from paints, paper, and insecticides to textiles. Also, around 20 percent of the total chlorine produced is employed in the making of PVC, which is an essential plastic that is used to manufacture car interiors, water pipes, blood bags, window frames, electrical wiring insulation, and vinyl flooring. It is also extensively used in organic chemistry as an oxidising agent or as a substitute in reactions.
 
Chlorine is added to crops to protect them from pests. Similarly, other applications in the food segment include its role as a disinfecting agent in kitchens to eradicate E. coli, salmonella, and other foodborne germs. Additionally, in the healthcare sector, it plays a vital role in manufacturing medicines, some of which help lower cholesterol and relieve pain caused by arthritis and allergy symptoms. In the medical industry, its traces can be found in medical devices, blood bags, surgical stitches, contact lenses, safety glasses, and respiratory inhalers.

Using chlorine chemistry, products in the building and construction sector can be made, including Plastic foam insulation, which is used to enhance the energy efficiency of house heating and air-conditioning systems while reducing energy bills and promoting sustainability.

The chemistry can be used in making bullet-resistant vests by police personnel and soldiers in the defence and Law Enforcement and to manufacture products like cockpit canopies, parachutes, night vision goggles, cockpit canopies and missile guidance technologies. In the transportation industry it is employed in trains, planes, boats, automobiles, and manufacturing of products like bumpers, airbags, seat cushions, brake fluid etc.

Apart from its discovered applications in various end-user sectors, it can also be used for innovative uses as it plays a crucial role in harnessing solar energy by purifying the silicon in grains of sand and transforming them into solar panel chips. Chlorine-based epoxy resins are used to make Wind turbine blades to help in converting wind power into electricity.

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In advanced technological developments, it is employed to make fast processors essential in powering tablets, smartphones, and computers. It can also produce commercial and residential air conditioning refrigerants, high-performance magnets, and hybrid car batteries.

Hence, all these applications in countless end-user industries make chlorine an essential ingredient for domestic and commercial uses creating high market demand and opportunities for market leaders.

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