Trifluoroacetic acid

(TFA, trifluoroethanoic acid)

CAS 76-05-1





Physical Properties

Colorless liquid

bp 72 °C, mp -15 °C

Miscible with water



Sharp, pungent odor


Vapor Density

3.9 (air = 1.0)


Vapor Pressure

107 mmHg at 25 °C


Flash Point



Toxicity Data

LD50 oral (rat)

200 mg/kg


LC50 inhal (rat)

2000 ppm (4 h)

Major Hazards

Corrosive to the skin and eyes; vapor or mist is very irritating and can be destructive to the eyes and respiratory system; ingestion causes internal irritation and severe injury.


Trifluoroacetic acid is a highly corrosive substance. Contact of the liquid with the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes can cause severe burns, and ingestion can result in serious damage to the digestive tract. TFA vapor is highly irritating of the eyes and respiratory tract, and inhalation of high concentrations can lead to severe destruction of the upper respiratory tract and may be fatal as a result of pulmonary edema. Symptoms of overexposure to TFA vapor include a burning feeling, coughing, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

Trifluoroacetic acid has not been found to be carcinogenic or to show reproductive or developmental toxicity in humans.

Flammability and Explosibility

Trifluoroacetic acid is not combustible. Nevertheless, the presence of trifluoroacetic acid at the site of a fire would be of great concern because of its high vapor pressure and extreme corrosiveness.

Reactivity and Incompatibility

Mixing trifluoroacetic acid and water evolves considerable heat

Storage and Handling

Trifluoroacetic acid should be handled in the laboratory using the "basic prudent practices" described in Chapter 5.C. In particular, trifluoroacetic acid should be stored in an acid cabinet away from other classes of compounds. Because of its high vapor pressure,

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