Acetonitrile, also known as cyanomethane, ethanenitrile or methyl cyanide is a chemical compound with the formula CH3CN.
Acetonitrile reacts with aldehydes to form hydroxynitriles.
- R-CHO + CH3CN → R-CH(OH)-CH2(CN)
Palladium chloride will form a complex with acetonitrile:
- PdCl2 + 2 CH3CN → PdCl2[CH3CN]2
Acetonitrile is a colorless liquid, with a faint ether like smell and a sweet burnt smell. Acetonitile is hygroscopic, and will readily absorb water from air if kept in open air. It has a melting point between −46 to −44 °C and a boiling point between 81.3 to 82.1 °C.
Acetonitrile can be purchased from chemical suppliers. ScienceStuff sells 1 liter at $76.88 + UPS hazardous material surcharge of $28.50 per shipment.
- CH3COONH4 → CH3C(O)NH2 + H2O
- CH3C(O)NH2 → CH3CN + H2O
- Ethylamine synthesis
Acetonitrile has modest toxicity in small doses, but it will be metabolised by the organism to produce hydrogen cyanide, which is very toxic. This occurs several hours after the exposure. Acetonitrile can be absorbed through the skin and via inhalation, so proper protection, such as gloves and a mask should be worn.
Acetonitrile however, has a much lower toxicity than the other simple nitriles, with a LD50 of 2460 mg/kg, while the next simple nitriles (propionitrile, butyronitrile, malononitrile, acrylonitrile) have values between 40-90 mg/kg.
Acetontrile is very hygroscopic and must be stored in closed bottles. Anhydrous calcium chloride pellets are usually added to keep the solvent dry.
- ↑ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201302613/abstract
- ↑ http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02318626