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chemical structure of acrylonitrile



Name Acrylonitrile
Chemical formula CH2=CH-CN
Appearance Colourless to pale yellow liquid


Formula weight 53.06 amu
Melting point 189 K (-84 °C)
Boiling point 350 K (77 °C)
Density 0.8 ×103 kg/m3
Solubility 7 g/100 mL at 20 °C


ΔfH0liquid kJ/mol
S0liquid, 1 bar J/mol·K


Flammability Extremely flammable and highly reactive. Gives off toxic fumes whilst burning.
Ingestion Headache, excitement, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, stupor, and coma.
Inhalation Headache, dizziness, unconsciousness and coma. High concentrations may be fatal.
Skin Irritation. Can be absorbed through skin. Repeated exposures cause sensitization.
Eyes Severe irritation, pain and blurred vision.
More info Hazardous Chemical Database
SI units were used where possible. Unless otherwise stated, standard conditions were used.

Disclaimer and references

Acrylonitrile (CH2=CH-CN), is a pungent smelling, extremely flammable organic liquid.

It is also known as cyanoethylene or vinyl cyanide. Its IUPAC name is 2-Propenenitrile.

Table of contents
1 Uses
2 Production
3 Safety


Acrylonitrile is used principally as a precursor in the manufacture of synthetic polymers, especially acrylic fibers, nylon, and synthetic rubber. Small amounts are also used as a fumigant.


Most industrial acrylonitrile is produced through the Sohio process, the catalytic ammoxidation of propylene:
CH3-CH=CH2 + NH3 + 1.5 O2 → CH2=CH-C≡N + 3 H2O
World annual production in 2001 was 4 million tonnes, with just under half of that coming from the USA.


Acrylonitrile is highly flammable, and can be easily ignited from a spark, or spontaneously on contact with certain oxidizers. Unless chemical stabilizers called "inhibitors" are added, it may also undergo explosive polymerization when heated, on contact with strong alkalis, or when exposed to ultraviolet light. The burning material releases fumes of hydrogen cyanide and oxides of nitrogen. Store in a well ventilated flammable material store away from incompatible materials, and avoid sparks.

The material is also toxic. Contact with skin or the eyes produces severe irritation. Inhalation or prolonged skin contact can produce stupefacation, coma, and death. Wear approved safety goggles, gloves and respirator during handling.