Zirconium(IV) chloride

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Zirconium(IV) chloride
Zirconium(IV) chloride.jpg
IUPAC names
Zirconium tetrachloride
Zirconium(IV) chloride
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.030.041 OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
EC Number
  • 233-058-2
PubChem CID
  • InChI=1S/4ClH.Zr/h4*1H;/q;;;;+4/p-4 Yes check.svgY
  • InChI=1/4ClH.Zr/h4*1H;/q;;;;+4/p-4
  • Cl[Zr](Cl)(Cl)Cl
Molar mass 233.04 g/mol
Appearancewhite crystals
Density 2.80 g/cm3
Melting point 437 °C (819 °F; 710 K) (triple point)
Boiling point 331 °C (628 °F; 604 K) (sublimes)
Solubility concentrated HCl (with reaction)
Monoclinic, mP10
P12/c1, No. 13
125.38 JK1mol1
Std molar
181.41 JK1mol1
980.52 kJ/mol
GHS labelling: [1]
GHS-pictogram-acid.svg GHS-pictogram-exclam.svg GHS-pictogram-silhouette.svg
H290, H302, H312, H314, H317, H332, H334
P234, P260, P261, P264, P270, P271, P272, P280, P285, P301+P312, P301+P330+P331, P302+P352, P303+P361+P353, P304+P312, P304+P340, P304+P341, P305+P351+P338, P310, P312, P321, P322, P330, P333+P313, P342+P311, P363, P390, P404, P405, P501
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Flash point Non-flammable
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
1488-1500 mg/kg (oral, rat)
655 mg/kg (mouse, oral) [2]
Safety data sheet (SDS) MSDS
Related compounds
Other anions
Zirconium(IV) fluoride
Zirconium(IV) bromide
Zirconium(IV) iodide
Other cations
Titanium tetrachloride
Hafnium tetrachloride
Related compounds
Zirconium(II) chloride, Zirconium(III) chloride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
X mark.svgN  verify  (what is  Yes check.svgYX mark.svgN ?)

Zirconium(IV) chloride, also known as zirconium tetrachloride, ( Zr Cl 4) is an inorganic compound frequently used as a precursor to other compounds of zirconium. This white high-melting solid hydrolyzes rapidly in humid air.



Unlike molecular TiCl4, solid ZrCl4 adopts a polymeric structure wherein each Zr is octahedrally coordinated. This difference in structures is responsible for the disparity in their properties: TiCl
is distillable, but ZrCl
is a solid. In the solid state, ZrCl4 adopts a tape-like linear polymeric structure—the same structure adopted by HfCl4. This polymer degrades readily upon treatment with Lewis bases, which cleave the Zr-Cl-Zr linkages. [4]


This conversion entails treatment of the oxide with carbon as the oxide "getter" in the presence of chlorine at high temperature:

ZrO2 + 2 C + 2 Cl2 → ZrCl4 + 2 CO

A laboratory scale process uses carbon tetrachloride in place of carbon and chlorine: [5]

ZrO2 + 2 CCl4 → ZrCl4 + 2 COCl2


Precursor to Zr metal

ZrCl4 is an intermediate in the conversion of zirconium minerals to metallic zirconium by the Kroll process. In nature, zirconium minerals invariably exist as oxides (reflected also by the tendency of all zirconium chlorides to hydrolyze). For their conversion to bulk metal, these refractory oxides are first converted to the tetrachloride, which can be distilled at high temperatures. The purified ZrCl4 can be reduced with Zr metal to produce zirconium(III) chloride.

Other uses

ZrCl4 is the most common precursor for chemical vapor deposition of zirconium dioxide and zirconium diboride. [6]

In organic synthesis zirconium tetrachloride is used as a weak Lewis acid for the Friedel-Crafts reaction, the Diels-Alder reaction and intramolecular cyclisation reactions. [7] It is also used to make water-repellent treatment of textiles and other fibrous materials.

Properties and reactions

Hydrolysis of ZrCl4 gives the hydrated hydroxy chloride cluster called zirconyl chloride. This reaction is rapid and virtually irreversible, consistent with the high oxophilicity of zirconium(IV). For this reason, manipulations of ZrCl4 typically require air-free techniques.

ZrCl4 is the principal starting compound for the synthesis of many organometallic complexes of zirconium. [8] Because of its polymeric structure, ZrCl4 is usually converted to a molecular complex before use. It forms a 1:2 complex with tetrahydrofuran: CAS [21959-01-3], mp 175–177 °C. [9] Sodium cyclopentadienide (NaC5H5) reacts with ZrCl4(THF)2 to give zirconocene dichloride, ZrCl2(C5H5)2, a versatile organozirconium complex. [10] One of the most curious properties of ZrCl4 is its high solubility in the presence of methylated benzenes, such as durene. This solubilization arises through the formation of π-complexes. [11]

The log (base 10) of the vapor pressure of zirconium tetrachloride (from 480 to 689 K) is given by the equation: log10(P) = −5400/T + 11.766, where the pressure is measured in torrs and temperature in kelvins. The log (base 10) of the vapor pressure of solid zirconium tetrachloride (from 710 to 741 K) is given by the equation log10(P) = −3427/T + 9.088. The pressure at the melting point is 14,500 torrs. [12]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zirconium</span> Chemical element, symbol Zr and atomic number 40

Zirconium is a chemical element with the symbol Zr and atomic number 40. The name zirconium is taken from the name of the mineral zircon, the most important source of zirconium. The word is related to Persian zargun. It is a lustrous, grey-white, strong transition metal that closely resembles hafnium and, to a lesser extent, titanium. Zirconium is mainly used as a refractory and opacifier, although small amounts are used as an alloying agent for its strong resistance to corrosion. Zirconium forms a variety of inorganic and organometallic compounds such as zirconium dioxide and zirconocene dichloride, respectively. Five isotopes occur naturally, four of which are stable. Zirconium compounds have no known biological role.

A Ziegler–Natta catalyst, named after Karl Ziegler and Giulio Natta, is a catalyst used in the synthesis of polymers of 1-alkenes (alpha-olefins). Two broad classes of Ziegler–Natta catalysts are employed, distinguished by their solubility:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Titanium tetrachloride</span> Inorganic chemical compound

Titanium tetrachloride is the inorganic compound with the formula TiCl4. It is an important intermediate in the production of titanium metal and the pigment titanium dioxide. TiCl4 is a volatile liquid. Upon contact with humid air, it forms thick clouds of titanium dioxide and hydrochloric acid, a reaction that was formerly exploited for use in smoke machines. It is sometimes referred to as "tickle" or "tickle 4" due to the phonetic resemblance of its molecular formula to the word.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hafnium tetrachloride</span> Chemical compound

Hafnium(IV) chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula HfCl4. This colourless solid is the precursor to most hafnium organometallic compounds. It has a variety of highly specialized applications, mainly in materials science and as a catalyst.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Titanocene dichloride</span> Chemical compound

Titanocene dichloride is the organotitanium compound with the formula (η5-C5H5)2TiCl2, commonly abbreviated as Cp2TiCl2. This metallocene is a common reagent in organometallic and organic synthesis. It exists as a bright red solid that slowly hydrolyzes in air. It shows antitumour activity and was the first non-platinum complex to undergo clinical trials as a chemotherapy drug.

Titanium(III) chloride is the inorganic compound with the formula TiCl3. At least four distinct species have this formula; additionally hydrated derivatives are known. TiCl3 is one of the most common halides of titanium and is an important catalyst for the manufacture of polyolefins.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vanadium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Vanadium trichloride is the inorganic compound with the formula VCl3. This purple salt is a common precursor to other vanadium(III) complexes.

Zirconium(IV) bromide is the inorganic compound with the formula ZrBr4. This colourless solid is the principal precursor to other Zr–Br compounds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Organotitanium compound</span>

Organotitanium compounds in organometallic chemistry contain carbon-titanium chemical bonds. Organotitanium chemistry is the science of organotitanium compounds describing their physical properties, synthesis and reactions. They are reagents in organic chemistry and are involved in major industrial processes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trimethyltin chloride</span> Chemical compound

Trimethyltin chloride is an organotin compound with the formula (CH3)3SnCl. It is a white solid that is highly toxic and malodorous. It is susceptible to hydrolysis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Organozirconium chemistry</span>

Organozirconium compounds are organometallic compounds containing a carbon to zirconium chemical bond. Organozirconium chemistry is the corresponding science exploring properties, structure, and reactivity of these compounds. Organozirconium compounds have been widely studied, in part because they are useful catalysts in Ziegler-Natta polymerization.

Zirconocene dichloride is an organozirconium compound composed of a zirconium central atom, with two cyclopentadienyl and two chloro ligands. It is a colourless diamagnetic solid that is somewhat stable in air.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Niobium(IV) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Niobium(IV) chloride, also known as niobium tetrachloride, is the chemical compound of formula NbCl4. This compound exists as dark violet crystals, is highly sensitive to air and moisture, and disproportiates into niobium(III) chloride and niobium(V) chloride when heated.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zirconium(III) chloride</span> Chemical compound

Zirconium(III) chloride is an inorganic compound with formula ZrCl3. It is a blue-black solid that is highly sensitive to air.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Titanium ethoxide</span> Chemical compound

Titanium ethoxide is a chemical compound with the formula Ti4(OCH2CH3)16. It is a colorless liquid that is soluble in organic solvents but hydrolyzes readily. It is sold commercially as a colorless solution. Alkoxides of titanium(IV) and zirconium(IV) are used in organic synthesis and materials science. They adopt more complex structures than suggested by their empirical formulas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metal halides</span>

Metal halides are compounds between metals and halogens. Some, such as sodium chloride are ionic, while others are covalently bonded. A few metal halides are discrete molecules, such as uranium hexafluoride, but most adopt polymeric structures, such as palladium chloride.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">(Cyclopentadienyl)titanium trichloride</span> Chemical compound

(Cyclopentadienyl)titanium trichloride is an organotitanium compound with the formula (C5H5)TiCl3. It is a moisture sensitive orange solid. The compound adopts a piano stool geometry.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tetrabenzylzirconium</span> Chemical compound

Tetrabenzylzirconium is an organozirconium compound with the formula Zr(CH2C6H5)4. The molecule features diamagnetic Zr(IV) bonded to four benzyl ligands. It is an orange air- and photo-sensitive solid, which is soluble in hydrocarbon solvents. The compound is a precursor to catalysts for the polymerization of olefins.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zirconium(III) bromide</span> Chemical compound

Zirconium(III) bromide is an inorganic compound with the formula ZrBr3.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transition metal ether complex</span>

In chemistry, a transition metal ether complex is a coordination complex consisting of a transition metal bonded to one or more ether ligand. The inventory of complexes is extensive. Common ether ligands are diethyl ether and tetrahydrofuran. Common chelating ether ligands include the glymes, dimethoxyethane (dme) and diglyme, and the crown ethers. Being lipophilic, metal-ether complexes often exhibit solubility in organic solvents, a property of interest in synthetic chemistry.


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