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The term 'iodoform' was also used in World War II to refer to group keys sent to agents in Europe by the Special Operations Executive: this usage is unrelated to the chemical.
IUPAC name Iodoform
Other names Triiodomethane, Methyl triiodide, Carbon triiodide, TIM
CAS number 75-47-8
PubChem 6374
EINECS number 200-874-5
KEGG D01910
ChEBI 37758
RTECS number PB7000000
InChI InChI=1/CHI3/c2-1(3)4/h1H
Molecular formula CHI3
Molar mass 393.73 g/mol
Appearance Yellowish crystalls
Density 4.008 g/cm3
Melting point

123 °C

Boiling point

217 °C (expl.)

Solubility in water 0.1 g/l at 20 °C
log P 3.83
kH 0.34
Crystal structure Hexagonal
Molecular shape Tetrahedral
EU classification Harmful (Xn), Dangerous for the environment (N)
NFPA 704
R-phrases R20/21/22, R36/37/38
S-phrases S22, S26, S36/37/39
Flash point 204 °C
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

The compound iodoform is CHI3. A pale yellow, crystalline, volatile substance, it has a penetrating odor (in older chemistry texts, the smell is sometimes referred to as the smell of hospitals) and, analogous to chloroform, sweetish taste. It is slightly soluble in glycerol, petroleum ether or alcohol (78 g/l at 25 °C), averagely soluble in chloroform, acetic acid and ether (136 g/l at 25 °C) and easily soluble in benzene and acetone (120 g/l at 25 °C).


Physical properties

Its entalphy of sublimation is 69.9 kJ.mol-1 at range of temperatures 35 - 92 °C.

Iodoform molecule parameters are: d(C-I) = 2.12 ± 0.04 Å, d(I-I) = 3.535 ± 0.01 Å and I-C-I = 113°. Dipole moment is 1 D. Its space group is P63 and lattice constants are a = 6.83 Å, c = 7.52 Å.

It has critical point at 584.85 °C, 5.63 MPa. Refractive index is 1.786 (D, 20 °C).


It was first prepared by Georges Serrulas in 1822 and its molecular formula was identified by Jean-Baptiste Dumas in 1834.

Iodoform can be synthesized in the haloform reaction by the reaction of iodine and sodium hydroxide with any one of these four kinds of organic compounds:

  • a methyl ketone: CH3COR, where R is an organic side chain.
  • acetaldehyde: CH3CHO
  • ethanol: CH3CH2OH
  • secondary alcohols: CH3CHROH, where R is an alkyl or aryl group.

For this reason iodoform was traditionally used as a test for methyl ketone; if a methyl ketone is present in the solution, a yellow precipitate will form. This is known as the iodoform test.


Some reagents (e.g. hydroiodic acid) can convert iodoform to diiodomethane.

Also conversion to carbon dioxide is possible. Iodoform reacts with silver nitrate producing carbon monoxide, which is oxidized by mixture of sulfuric acid and iodine pentaoxide.


It was used in medicine as a healing and antiseptic dressing for wounds and sores around the beginning of the 20th century, though this use is now superseded by better antiseptics.


  • Merck Index, 12 Edition, 5054.

See also

  • Iodoform reaction
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Iodoform". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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