17 June 2022 Bulletin

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Acetonitrile is the chemical compound with the formula CH3CN. This colourless liquid is the simplest organic nitrile. It is produced mainly as a by-product of acrylonitrile manufacture. [1] Acetonitrile is very soluble in water and mixes with most organic solvents, e.g. alcohols, esters, acetone, ether, benzene, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and many unsaturated hydrocarbons. It does not mix with petroleum ether and many saturated hydrocarbons. Acetonitrile is incompatible with water, acids, bases, oleum, perchlorates, nitrating agents, reducing agents and alkali metals. Acetonitrile decomposes on contact with acids, water and steam, producing toxic fumes and flammable vapour. It reacts with strong oxidants such as nitric acid, chromic acid and sodium peroxide, causing fire and explosion hazards. Acetonitrile forms toxic fumes of hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen oxides on combustion. It attacks some forms of plastics, rubber and coatings. [2]

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