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Other Names:


Methyl cyanide

General Information:


CAS Number: 75-05-8

Molecular Weight: 41.05 g/mol

Appearance: Colorless liquid

Chemical Formula: CH3CN

Melting Point: -48 C

Boiling Point: 80-82 C

Density: 0.786 g/mL

Acetonitrile (ACN) is a polar aprotic solvent used for a variety of different reactions. Common reactions employing ACN as a solvent include substitutions, SNAr reactions, brominations, and iodinations. Acetonitrile is also widely used as part of the mobile phase in HPLC and LCMS. The use of ACN as a reagent is not very common, but one example is in Ritter reactions.

Common Uses:

Solvent for reactions

Solvent (mobile phase) for reverse phase purifications

Procedure excerpt:

…it was concentrated and purified by reverse phase HPLC (20-95% 0.1% TFA/ACN in 0.1% TFA/H2O) to provide the product as a yellow…

Reagent in Ritter reactions


Acetonitrile (ACN) is slightly/moderately toxic. It can be metabolized in the body to hydrogen cyanide, but cases of acetonitrile poisoning are not common. Acetonitrile is highly flammable.


1) WO2016011930, page 173

2) WO2012129338, page 151

3) Wikipedia: Acetonitrile (link)

4) Acetonitrile (link)

5) A19862 Acetonitrile, 99% (link)

6) Kurti, L.; Czako, B.; Strategic Applications of Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis