Acetonitrile (ACN)


CAS No.: 75-05-8
EC No.: 200-835-2
EC / List name: Acetonitrile

Acetonitrile, also called methyl cyanide, is the simplest organic nitrile, miscible with water, methanol, methyl acetate, ethyl acetate, acetone, ether, acetamide solutions, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, ethylene chloride and many unsaturated hydrocarbons. Immiscible with many saturated hydrocarbons (petroleum fractions).

It can be obtained by dehydration of an acetic acid and ammonia mixture or by the reaction of ethanol and ammonia in the presence of catalyst at moderate temperatures as well as a by-product of acrylonitrile synthesis. Acetonitrile is also produced by the reaction of cyanogen chloride with methane, ketones, ethanol, alkylene epoxides, and paraffins (or olefins). Its primary use is as an extraction solvent for unsaturated hydrocarbons (especially butadiene) and as a general purpose solvent for many compounds including fatty acids and oils based on its selective miscibility.

Product name  Appearance Assay, %, no less than Mass fraction of water (Max.), % Specification
Acetonitrile technical Clear colourless liquid 98.8 0,2 Technical grade
Acetonitrile (99.3%) Clear colourless liquid 99.3 0,1 Pharma grade
Acetonitrile (99.9%) Clear colourless liquid 99.9 0,05 Pure grade

Acetonitrile is used as a solvent to dissolve organic compounds, as an extracting agent to split hydrocarbons by extractive rectification, as a raw material for organic synthesis and also for production of vitamin B1, in textile industry and for extracting resins, fenols and colouring substances from hydrocarbons and oil. Also used in agrochemical field.

It is used as a general purpose solvent for many compounds. It is used in the production of fibers, rubbers, and resins. It is replacing acrylonitrile, an important starting material in the manufacture of fabrics, plastics, and synthetic rubber. It is used as a chemical intermediate in pesticide, perfume and pharmaceutical manufacturing. It is used in high-performance liquid chromatographic analysis. It is used in extraction and refining of copper.

Organic nitriles act as solvents and are reacted further for various application including:

  • Extraction solvent for fatty acids, oils and unsaturated hydrocarbons
  • Solvent for spinning and casting and extractive distillation based on its selective miscibility with organic compounds.
  • Removing agent of colouring matters and aromatic alcohol
  • Non-aqueous solvent for titrations and for inorganic salt
  • Recrystallization of steroid
  • Parent compound for organic synthesis
  • Solvent or chemical intermediate in biochemistry ( pesticide sequencing and DNA synthesis)
  • High-pressure liquid chromatographic analysis
  • Catalyst and component of transition-metal complex catalysts
  • Stabilizer for chlorinated solvents
  • Chemical intermediate and solvent for perfumes and pharmaceuticals

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