Acrylonitrile is an organic compound with the formula CH2CHCN. It is a colorless volatile liquid, although commercial samples can be yellow due to impurities. In terms of its molecular structure, it consists of a vinyl group linked to a nitrile. It is an important monomer for the manufacture of useful plastics such as polyacrylonitrile.
1. Acrylonitrile is used principally as a monomer to prepare the polyacrylonitrile, a homopolymer, or several important copolymers such as styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) and other synthetic rubbers such as acrylonitrile butadiene (NBR). Dimerization of acrylonitrile affords adiponitrile, used in the synthesis of certain polyamides. Small amounts are also used as a fumigant
2. Acrylonitrile and derivatives such as 2-chloro-acrylonitrile are dienophiles in Diels-Alder reactions
3. Acrylonitrile is also a precursor in the industrial manufacture of acrylamide and acrylic acid