What are hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)? Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are a group of compounds, whose structure is very close to that of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but including one or more hydrogen atom. However, they are much less stable. The HCFCs have shorter atmospheric lifetimes than CFCs and deliver less reactive chlorine to the stratosphere where the “ozone layer” is found. Consequently, it is expected that these chemicals will contribute much less to stratospheric ozone depletion than CFCs.
CFCs and HCFCs are used in a variety of applications because of their low toxicity, reactivity and flammability. Every permutation of fluorine, chlorine and hydrogen based on methane and ethane has been examined and most have been commercialized. Furthermore, many examples are known for higher numbers of carbon as well as related compounds containing bromine. Uses include refrigerants, blowing agents, propellants in medicinal applications and degreasing solvents.