Chlorinated paraffins are manufactured by the chlorination of n-paraffin or paraffin wax, normally in a batch process. The reaction is exothermic and leads to the generation of the by-product hydrochloric acid. After removing residual traces of acid, a stabilizer is added to produce finished batches.
Chlorinated paraffins, which contain 30-70% chlorine, are largely inert and almost insoluble in water. Paraffins have extremely low vapour pressure. Most commercial chlorinated paraffin products are liquid and range from relatively low to extremely high viscosity. There are also solid types which have longer carbon chain lengths and usually contain 70-72% chlorine.
Increasing the chlorine content results in products with higher viscosity and density. Chlorinated paraffins are capable of mixing with many organic solvents such as aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, ketones and esters.
The range of chlorinated paraffins available are generally grouped into a number of distinct 'families', depending on the chain-length of the feedstock, i.e. :