1-Chlorobutane (also known as n-butyl chloride) is an organic chlorine compound and belongs to the aliphatic, saturated, halogenated hydrocarbons. The clear, colorless and slightly volatile liquid has a pungent smell, is easy to ignite and has excellent solution properties for waxes, fats and oils.
An important application of n-butyl chloride is the production of n-butyl lithium (usually simply called n-BuLi), which is in great demand with a large number of applications. The synthesis proceeds analogously to the production of classic Grignard compounds, by reacting 1-chlorobutane with metallic lithium (in the form of chips or as a powder) with the exclusion of water in diethyl ether.
Butyl lithium in turn is of great importance in modern organic synthetic chemistry as a strong base and lithiation reagent. It is used in the plastics industry as a reagent in the production of natural rubber from isoprene: in anionic chain polymerization, it initiates the reaction to produce styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymers that are used for car tires, shoe soles or seals.
Other areas of application of butyl lithium are found in agricultural chemistry and specialty chemicals. In pharmacy, n-BuLi is an important component for the synthesis of drugs for the treatment of heart diseases (cholesterol, high blood pressure), obesity and others.
Further Use of n-Butyl Chloride
Due to its good dissolving properties, 1-chlorobutane is also a common solvent and extractant. It is also used in high performance liquid chromatography and spectrophotometry.
n-Butyl chloride can also be used as an alkylating reagent to introduce a butyl group in organic syntheses (for example for ionic liquids), as well as for some esters and plasticizers, for pesticides or surfactants. Veterinary medicine knows 1-chlorobutane as an active ingredient against worms.
In addition, 1-chlorobutane is required as an intermediate for the production of organotin compounds.
Transport and Storage
1-Chlorobutane is supplied in steel drums with polyethylene liners. In the closed original packaging, it has an unlimited shelf life.