Chemical Structure / July 19, 2018 / Reina Huffman
Industrially, benzyl chloride is the precursor to benzyl esters which are used as plasticizers, flavorants, and perfumes. Phenylacetic acid, a precursor to pharmaceuticals, is produced from benzyl cyanide, which is generated by treatment of benzyl chloride with sodium cyanide. Quaternary ammonium salts, used as surfactants, are readily formed by alkylation of tertiary amines with benzyl chloride.
Acetonitrile is used mainly as a solvent in the purification of butadiene in refineries. Specifically, acetonitrile is fed into the top of a distillation column filled with hydrocarbons including butadiene, and as the acetonitrile falls down through the column, it absorbs the butadiene which is then sent from the bottom of the tower to a second separating tower. Heat is then employed in the separating tower to separate the butadiene. It is widely used in battery applications because of its relatively high dielectric constant and ability to dissolve electrolytes. For similar reasons it is a popular solvent in cyclic voltammetry.
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