Cas Number


Other Names



Ethyl nitrile


Methyl cyanide

The formula



Acetonitrile is the chemical compound with the formula CH 3CN. This colourless liquid is the simplest organic nitrile (hydrogen cyanide is a simpler nitrile, but the cyanide anion is not classed as organic). It is produced mainly as a byproduct of acrylonitrile manufacture. It is used as a polar aprotic solvent in organic synthesis and in the purification of butadiene.

Physical and Chemical Properties
Physical state and appearance Liquid.
Odor Aromatic; Ether-like (Strong.)
Molecular Weight 41.05 g/mole
pH (1% soln/water) 7 [Neutral.]
Flash Point 2 °C
Color Colorless
Boiling Point 81.6 (178.9°F)
Melting Point -46°C (-50.8°F)
Vapor Pressure 9.7kPa (@ 20°C)
Vapor Density 1.42 (Air = 1)
Dispersion Properties See solubility in water, methanol
Solubility Soluble in cold water, hot water, methanol
Specific gravity,20/200c 0782~0.785
Distillation range, 0c 80.0~82.0
Acetonitrile, %wt 99.9 Min
Water, %wt 0.05 Max
Copper, ppm 0.3 Max
Iron, ppm 0.3 Max
Color, apha/pt-co 10 Max
Acidity (asch3cooh),%wt 0.005 Max
Propionitrile, ppm 500 Max
Copper, ppm 0.3 Max
Acrtonitrile, ppm 5 Max
Acetone, ppm 5 Max
Hcn, ppm 10 Max
Free ammonia, ppm 6 Max
Allyl alcohol, ppm 30 Max

1. Acetonitrile is primarily used as an extraction solvent for butadiene

2. It is used as a chemical intermediate in pesticide manufacturing; and as a solvent for both inorganic and organic compounds

3. It is also included as a starting material for the production of acetophenone, alpha-naphthalenacetic acid, thiamine, and acetamidine; to remove tars, phenols, and coloring matter from petroleum hydrocarbons not soluble in Acetonitrile

4. In the laboratory, acetone is used as a polar aprotic solvent in a variety of organic reactions, such as SN2 reactions. The use of acetone solvent is also critical for the Jones oxidation. It is a common solvent for rinsing laboratory glassware because of its low cost and volatility, however, it does not form an azeotrope with water

5. It is used in the production of acrylic fibers; and in pharmaceuticals, perfumes, nitrile rubber, and ABS (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) resins