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Reduction of Nitriles to Amines

Reduction of Nitriles to Amines: Industrial Applications

In industry, the reduction of nitriles to amines is carried out not with complex metal hydrides but by using catalytic hydrogenation. This process is an important step in the synthesis of amines from carboxylic acids.

  • Using this procedure, ethyl amine is prepared from acetonitrile, a by-product in the acrylonitrile synthesis from propylene by catalytic ammoxidation. Ethylamine is a versatile starting material in organic synthesis.
  • Fatty amines of chain length C16 and C18 are synthesized by hydrogenation of the corresponding nitriles. They are corrosion inhibitors and serve as flotation reagents during the work-up of potassium chloride containing crude potassium salts.
  • Hexamethylenediamine is synthesized by hydrogenation of adiponitrile. The major part of the production is being used for the preparation of nylon 6,6; a smaller amount is reacted with phosgene to form the diisocyanate. This material is used for the preparation of colorless, non-yellowing polyurethanes.
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