Methylamine is an organic chemical compound that is considered as the simplest primary amine. The preferred IUPAC name of the substance is methanamine. It is also called aminomethane or monomethylamine.
Methylamine has the chemical formula CH5N and CAS number 74-89-5. It is a derivative of ammonia, in which one hydrogen atom is replaced by a methyl group. The chemical is usually sold as anhydrous gas or as a solution in water, methanol, ethanol, or THF.
Methylamine is a colorless gas or a liquid with a pungent fishy smell, resembling those of ammonia. When liquid, it boils at −6.0 °C and evaporates easily if unconfined. Gas is extremely flammable and may explode if heated. Its flashpoint is −10 °C.
The chemical is less dense than water; its density is only 656.2 kg m−3. The compound is soluble in water, ethanol, benzene, acetone, and miscible in ether. The other properties of methylamine are:
- molar mass: 31.06 g·mol−1;
- melting point: −93.10 °C;
- water solubility: 1080000 mg/L (at 25 °C)
This organic is corrosive to galvanized surfaces, copper, copper & zinc alloys, and aluminum. Besides, it is extremely hazardous to human health, since it may cause severe burns on human tissues. Inhalation of gas often leads to pulmonary congestion or edema of the lungs.
Manufacture and Uses
The commercial methylamine preparation includes the reaction of methanol and ammonia with presence of aluminosilicate catalyst. In laboratory, the chemical can be prepared by many different methods, like spontaneous decarboxylation of glycine with a strong base, conversion of hydrochloride salt by the addition of a strong base (e.g. sodium hydroxide), etc.
Methylamine uses are not very diverse. Here are the most widespread of its applications:
- As an intermediate for production of agricultural chemicals, such as herbicides, biocides, insecticides, etc.
- As a raw material or catalyst in making other chemicals with catalytic activity.
- As a building block in production of some surfactants.
- As a component in manufacture of pharmaceuticals, such as ephedrine and theophylline, etc.
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