Generally, the major uses of fluorochemical compounds fall into three major categories at the turn of the 21st century. The first is the rather stable halocarbon compounds used in medicine such as several types of inhalation anesthetics for anesthesia. A very major industrial use is in the form of heat-tolerant and inert synthetic oils and metalworking lubricants.
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However, there are many fluorochemicals and halocarbon chemicals that are used extensively, albeit carefully, inorganic (meaning carbon-containing) chemistry. The unique nature of fluorine, even among other halogen elements, grants halocarbon fluoro compounds unique properties that are indispensable in organic chemical work.
Since the discovery of hydrofluoric acid (HF) from calcium fluoride and sulphuric acid in the 17th century, it has been well known to generations of chemists that certain fluorochemical compounds have very unusual properties.
The etching of glass has been performed commercially with HF since the 18th century. Despite being a weak acid, it has an unparalleled ability to corrode silicon and calcium. Much of the pure and quite toxic elemental fluorine (F) is produced from HF by electrolysis.
Trifluoroacetic Acid (TFA) is another very commonly used halocarbon compound. TFA is a relatively simple organic molecule and is a colorless liquid that is a powerful carboxylic acid in solution. It can be produced by "electro-fluorinating" plain old acetic acid.
Though similar to the much more familiar acetic acid (better known as the business end of vinegar), it is a strong acid in this form, stronger than acetic acid by at least 3 orders of magnitude.