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Ethylenediamine is an organic compound with the formula C2H4(NH2)2, and is often abbreviated en when used as a ligand. It is a common ligand in coordination chemistry and a ubiquitous chemical building block in organic synthesis. It is volatile, but tends to form a mist in air, which is quite toxic.
Ethylenediamine is a clear, colorless liquid at room temperature. It freezes at 8 °C and boils at 116 °C, both of which are close to the melting and boiling points of water. It has an ammoniacal smell, and its vapors are extremely irritating. It is miscible with water at all concentrations.
Ethylenediamine is a powerful chelating agent and will readily complex to many metal ions, notably, cobalt, nickel, copper, and chromium (with some difficulty). The stability of these complexes is due to an increase in entropy by freeing 2 monodentate ligands per complexed ethylenediamine molecule.
Sources and productionEdit
Ethylenediamine is toxic and has serious adverse health effects when inhaled. As a pure liquid, it will vaporize and form a mist in the air. If pure ethylenediamine must be used, it should be handled in a fume hood. Otherwise, it is preferable to use a 20% solution, which does not emit fumes and still allows for complexation.