- Methyl cyanide
Colorless liquid with a sweet, ether like odor, lachrymator.
In organic synthesis as starting material for acetophenone, alpha-naphthaleneacetic acid, thiamine, acetamidine. To remove tars, phenols, & coloring matter from petroleum hydrocarbons which are not soluble in acetonitrile. To extract fatty acids from fish liver oils & other animals & vegetable oils. Can be used to recrystallize steroids. As an indifferent medium in physicochemical investigations. Wherever a polar solvent having a rather high dielectric constant is required. As medium for promoting reactions involving ionization. As a solvent in non-aqueous titrations. As a nonaqueous solvent for inorganic salts.
Registry Numbers and Inventories.
EC Index Number
Highly flammable; Harmful; Irritant
R 11 20/21/22 36
S 16 36/37
Tumorigen; Mutagen; Reproductive Effector; Human Data; Primary Irritant
Swiss Giftliste 1
Japan ENCS (MITI)
Melting point, °C
Boiling point, °C
Vapor pressure, mmHg
73 (25 C)
Vapor density (air=1)
9.6% (96000 ppm) at 20 C
5.79 (butyl acetate = 1)
Odor Threshold Odor threshold 70.0 mg/m3
0.782 g/cm3 (20 C)
Solubility in water
0.35 cp @ 20C
29.04 g/s2 @ 20 C
1.34604 (20 C)
3.44 D (20 C)
37.5 (20 C)
Partition coefficient, pKow
Heat of fusion
Heat of vaporization
Heat of combustion
Hazards and Protection.
Keep away from heat, sparks, and flame. Keep away from sources of ignition. Store in a tightly closed container. Keep from contact with oxidizing materials. Store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from incompatible substances.
B2 D1A D2B
Wash thoroughly after handling. Remove contaminated clothing and wash before reuse. Use only in a well ventilated area. Ground and bond containers when transferring material. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. Empty containers retain product residue, (liquid and/or vapor), and can be dangerous. Keep container tightly closed. Avoid contact with heat, sparks and flame. Do not ingest or inhale. Do not pressurize, cut, weld, braze, solder, drill, grind, or expose empty containers to heat, sparks or open flames.
Eyes: Wear appropriate protective eyeglasses or chemical safety goggles as described by OSHA's eye and face protection regulations in 29 CFR 1910.133 or European Standard EN166. Skin: Wear appropriate protective gloves to prevent skin exposure. Clothing: Wear appropriate protective clothing to prevent skin exposure.
Wear a supplied air, full-facepiece respirator, airlined hood, or full-facepiece self-contained breathing apparatus. Breathing air quality must meet the requirements of the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29CFR1910.134). This substance has poor warning properties. Where respirators are required, you must have a written program covering the basic requirements in the OSHA respirator standard. These include training, fit testing, medical approval, cleaning, maintenance, cartridge change schedules, etc. See 29CFR1910.134 for details.
Avoid runoff into storm sewers and ditches which lead to waterways. Remove all sources of ignition. Absorb spill using an absorbent, non-combustible material such as earth, sand, or vermiculite. A vapor suppressing foam may be used to reduce vapors. Water spray may reduce vapor but may not prevent ignition in closed spaces.
Stable under normal temperatures and pressures.
Oxidizing agents, reducing agents, acids, bases, alkali metals, fluorine, nitric acid, perchlorates, sulfuric acid, chlorosulfonic acid, oleum, dinitrogen tetraoxide, sulfites, indium, moisture, Attacks some forms of plastics, rubbers, and coatings., nitrating agents, N-fluoro compounds (e.g. perfluorourea + acetonitrile), lanthanide perchlorates, iron (III) perchlorate, 2-Cyano-2-propyl nitrate, trichlorosilane, diphenyl sulfoxide.
Hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide.
Upper exp. limit, %
Lower exp. limit, %
Do not extinguish fire unless flow can be stopped. Use water in flooding quantities as fog. Solid streams of water may be ineffective. Cool all affected containers with flooding quantities of water. Apply water from as far a distance as possible. Use alcohol foam, dry chemical or carbon dioxide.
Very flammable. Forms explosive mixtures in air.
Vapor heavier than air and may travel considerable distance to source of ignition and flash back. Vapors are heavier than air and may travel to a source of ignition and flash back.
Toxic vapors are generated when heated Vapor heavier than air and may travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back.
OSHA PEL: TWA 40 ppm (70 mg/m3) NIOSH REL: TWA 20 ppm (34 mg/m3) NIOSH IDLH: 500 ppm
Chronic inhalation and ingestion may cause effects similar to those of acute inhalation and ingestion. May be metabolized to cyanide which in turn acts by inhibiting cytochrome oxidase impairing cellular respiration. Animal studies have reported that fetal effects/abnormalities may occur when maternal toxicity is seen.
May cause irritation of the digestive tract. May cause effects similar to those for inhalation exposure.
Harmful if inhaled. Inhalation of high concentrations may cause central nervous system effects characterized by headache, dizziness, unconsciousness and coma. May cause liver and kidney damage. Vapors may cause dizziness or suffocation. May cause nausea, dizziness, and headache. Inhalation may lead to dizziness, weakness, and drowsiness, leading to stupor, unconsciousness, and even death. Inhalation may lead to hematemesis, convulsions, shock, coma, and possible death. Effects are often delayed due to the slow formation of cyanide ions.
May cause skin irritation. May be harmful if absorbed through the skin. May be metabolized to cyanide which in turn acts by inhibiting cytochrome oxidase impairing cellular respiration.
May cause moderate eye irritation. Vapors may cause eye irritation.
If victim is conscious and alert, give 2-4 cupfuls of milk or water. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Get medical aid immediately.
Get medical aid immediately. Remove from exposure to fresh air immediately. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen.
Get medical aid immediately. Flush skin with plenty of soap and water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes.
Flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower eyelids. Get medical aid immediately.