What molecule am I?
Benzonitrile, the simplest cyanoaromatic, is a clear liquid with an almond-like odor. Methods for synthesizing it include
- heating sodium benzenesulfonate with NaCN,
- adding benzenediazonium chloride to a hot aqueous solution of NaCN and CuSO4,
- oxidizing toluene in the presence of ammonia,
- dehydrating benzamide, and
- treating bromobenzene with CuCN or NaCN.
Despite these many synthetic methods, the only uses for benzonitrile are as a solvent or a precursor to benzoguanamine, a derivative of melamine. But recently, the molecule was the subject of a “stellar” discovery.
Brett A. McGuire, at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, VA, and collaborators identified benzonitrile in interstellar dust. They estimate that the dust cloud is 430 light-years away. This is the first aromatic molecule to be discovered in space, even though astrochemists estimate that 10% of all interstellar carbon consist of polynuclear aromatics.
Benzonitrile hazard information
|GHS classification*: flammable liquids, category 4.|
|GHS classification: acute toxicity, oral, category 4|
|H302—Harmful if swallowed|
|GHS classification: acute toxicity, dermal, category 4|
|H312— Harmful in contact with skin|
|GHS classification: hazardous to the aquatic environment, acute hazard, category 3|
|H402—Harmful to aquatic life|
Benzonitrile fast facts
|CAS Reg. No.||100-47-0|
|Molar mass||103.12 g/mol|
|Boiling point||191 °C|
|Water solubility||<5 g/L|
Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.
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