Aluminum Chloride (anhydrous)


Anhydrous aluminum chloride (aluminum trichloride, AlCl3) is an odorless, white or yellow crystalline solid that reacts violently with water to liberate hydrogen chloride (HCL) gas. AlCl3 will also sublime readily at 178 Celsius to yield hydrogen chloride gas. The solid and gas byproduct are both highly corrosive to eyes, skin and mucous membranes.  AlCl3 is not combustible; however, conventional ABC or BC fire extinguishers should never be used.

Emergency Procedures

Skin Contact:  Brush off any visible solids.  Rinse with copious amounts of water for at least 15 minutes.  Seek medical attention as needed.  Thoroughly clean contaminated clothing and shoes before reuse.

Ingestion:  Do not induce vomiting.  Drink 2-3 glasses of water and seek medical attention immediately.

All other exposures: Follow regular Emergency Procedures guidelines for eye exposure or inhalation.  Seek medical attention as needed.

Fire:  Use Class D extinguisher, such as Met-L-X or smother the fire with dry sand.  Do not use water, carbon dioxide or halogenated extinguishing agents.

Spill:  Control all sources of moisture.  Wearing personal protective equipment, cover the spill with sand.  Scoop spilled materials with spark-resistant tools and place in a container for disposal.  DO NOT USE WATER.


Wear safety glasses, impervious gloves and a fire-retardant laboratory coat.  Control ignition sources and avoid dust formation.  Avoid contact with water or moisture.  Keep a supply of dry sand available in the work area and ensure there is a Class D extinguisher immediately available.

When large quantities of AlCl3 will be used, work in dry surroundings, such as in a fume hood or glove box.  Avoid contact with water and humid environments.

AlCl3 is incompatible with hydrated reagents, strong oxidizers and caustics, alcohols, nitromethane, sodium oxide, ethylene oxide, and a wide variety of other materials. AlCl3 will corrode most transition metals.

Do not heat AlCl3 without proper containment for generated HCl vapors.  Upon contact with water or heat, AlCl3 produces an exothermic reaction involving release of hydrogen chloride gas.


Store in tightly sealed containers in a cool dry place, separate from combustible materials. Storage containers may pressurize if contaminated with water.


Store wastes in tightly sealed containers.  Dispose as hazardous waste.

For More Information

See material safety data sheet from Fisher Scientific.


Stanley Howell
Program Manager - Chemical Safety

Steve Elwood
Associate Director for Laboratory Safety