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February 2018 Gas Spotlight: Octafluoropropane

february 2018 gas spotlight



Octafluoropropane (C3F8) has a secure future, not only in the semiconductor and electronics industries, but in medicine and physics as well.

Octafluoropropane (also known as halocarbon 218) is made by either chemical fluorination or by a procedure known as the Fowler process, which was created in World War II to develop enough coolant liquid for uranium enrichment. There are no natural sources.

C3F8 in Semiconductor Industry

Fluorocarbons are collectively known as high global-warming potential gases (GWP). While the semiconductor industry is seeking low GWP replacements, they also want those replacements to actually work—to keep cleaning and etching (NAICS 334413) efficiently without introducing new problems.

So while the semiconductor industry has been searching for alternatives to fluorocarbons in general, C3F8 is most likely to remain in demand because its very high efficiency offsets its high GWP. Moreover, compared to C2F6, for example, it generates 60% fewer emissions and its lifetime is about 70% shorter.

C3F8 in Medicine, Physics, and More

New applications for C3F8 are constantly developing in a multitude of fields and industries.

  • C3F8 is a component in refrigeration mixtures (NAICS 333415).
  • In medicine C3F8 is used in contrast-enhanced ultrasound and in tamponade (plugging) procedures to repair a retina hole or tear in the eye. It qualifies for medical procedures because it is inert—it doesn’t react with human tissue—and it is easy to inject because of low viscosity.
  • In the search for dark matter, C3F8 also plays a major role. Physicists employ it in bubble chambers because of its sensitivity to various particles and their actions, such as proton scattering. Detection of dark matter was called “one of the most important topics in modern physics” at the 2015 Multiphysics Conference in Spain.
  • If humans ever succeed in settling on Mars, C3F8 will have a major role due to its greenhouse gas effect (24,000 times greater than CO2), which will make terraforming faster and less resource-intensive.

As a specialty gas, C3F8 has great potential.

Electronic Fluorocarbon’s Commitment

Electronic Fluorocarbon has global partnerships and multiple suppliers that make us the go-to source for specialty gases like C3F8. We provide C3F8 at the highest purity levels possible: 99.96%, 99.97%, and 99.99%. We ship it under its own vapor pressure (100 psig at 70°F) in cylinders sized from 15 to 100 pounds.

EFC is dedicated to supplying fluorocarbons and specialty gases to meet all of your customer’s needs in the semiconductor, refrigerant, medical, and other industries. Please call 1-888-924-3371 or email us at for more information about our other high purity gases.


Download EFC’s February 2018 Newsletter

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