Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride)
A colorless volatile liquid possessing a slightly sweet aroma, dichloromethane is a widely-used solvent that is not miscible with water. However, dichloromethane (also called methylene chloride) does mix with many other organic solvents. Probably the best-known example of DCM’s application is its use in the classic home and school laboratory experiment known as the drinking bird heat engine, or the dipping bird. DMC is naturally occurring in oceanic sources, macroalgae, wetlands, and volcanic vents. Most of the DMC in the environment is a byproduct of industrial emissions. Due to its volatile nature and miscibility in a wide variety of organic compounds, DCM is a widely-used solvent in a variety of chemical processes. Paint stripper, degreaser, decaffeination of coffee and tea, and preparing extracts of hops and various other flavorings are the primary industrial applications. Its high volatility also makes it ideal as an aerosol spray propellant and as a blowing agent for polyurethane foams.