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Product name acetonitrile
Synonyms methyl cyanide
acetic acid nitrile
GOST no data
CAS 75-05-8

Acetonitrile is a clear, colorless, flammable liquid with a weak ether-like odor. It is fully miscible with water, methanol, ethanol, diethyl ether, acetone, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, other chlorinated hydrocarbons; poorly soluble in most aliphatic hydrocarbons. Acetonitrile dissolves fats, vegetable oils, lacquers, cellulose esters, many synthetic polymers, inorganic salts. It foms azeotropes with water (bp 76.5°C, 83.7% of acetonitrile by mass), benzene (73.0°C and 34%), carbon tetrachloride (65°C and 17%), ethanol (72.5°C and 44%), ethyl acetate (74.8°C and 23%) and others. Acetonitrile is a simplest organic nitrile and exhibits most of chemical properties nitriles. It is able to coordinate as a neutral ligand to metals to form stable complex compounds, such as square-planar PdCl2(MeCN)2. Acetonitrile is a toxic compound; absorbes through intact skin.


  • Most of commercial acetonitrile is produced by acetic acid ammonolysis at 300-450°C in the presence of moderate excess of ammonia and a catalyst (Al2O3, SiO2):

    CH3COOH + NH3 --> CH3CN + 2H2O

  • as a by-product in acrylonitrile production by oxidative ammonolysis of propylene;


    Acetonitrile is used:

  • as a solvent and reaction medium in synthetic organic and coordination chemistry, industrial processes;
  • as an exracting agent for isolation of butadiene from C4 hydrocarbons mixture;
  • for extraction of fatty acids from animal fats and vegetable oils;
  • as an azeotrope agent for isolation of toluene from oil distillates;
  • as a raw material, intermediate and reaction medium in pharmaceutical chemistry;
  • as a popular solvent in nonaqueous solution electrochemistry because of its relatively high dielectric constant;
  • as a mobile phase in column chromatography and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC);
  • as a intermediate in pesticide, perfume preparation;

  • Manufacturer(s) OJSC Polymir
    OJSC Saratovorgsintez
    Chemical structure of acetonitrile

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