This article examines, through a molecular perspective, the ‘ozone-friendly’ refrigerants R-134a and R-123 vis-à-vis R-12 and R-11, which are targeted to be phased out under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Final Act (1987). It appears that the molecular weight, size parameter, and dipole moment, of R-134a and R-123, may induce a pronounced effect on the chemical equilibrium of ice particles in the polar stratospheric clouds and subsequently influence the photochemical reactions therein.
Non-polar, high-molecular-weight perfluoropropane (R-218), could be a better substitute for R-12, while R-134, which is a non-polar HFC of the ethane family, could also be a candidate although its molecular weight is lower than that of R-12. The search for a good substitute for R-11, however, must continue.
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