Molecule of the Week

Dimethyl carbonate

August 20, 2012

Dimethyl carbonate is a colorless flammable liquid that was originally made by the reaction of 2 moles of methanol with 1 mole of phosgene. But because of phosgene’s extreme toxicity, it is now manufactured by the transesterification of propylene carbonate and methanol or the copper-catalyzed reaction of methanol, oxygen, and carbon monoxide. Dimethyl carbonate is increasingly used as a methylating agent in place of hazardous, waste-generating compounds, such as dimethyl sulfate and methyl halides.

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