Dimethylglyoxime - C4H8N2O2

What is Dimethylglyoxime?

Dimethylglyoxime is a white powder with the molecular formula C4H8N2O2. It is soluble in methanol or in sodium hydroxide solution. It is one of the first selective organic reagents applied in analytical chemistry. It is an extraordinary sensitive and specific reagent for nickel. Many derivatives of Dimethylglyoxime has been synthesized and proposed. Although commonly used as a reagent specific to nickel, Dimethylglyoxime actually allows the detection of other metal ions.

Other name – 2,3-Butanedione, Biacetyl dioxime, dioxime, N-(3-hydroxyiminobutan-2-ylidene)hydroxylamine




1.37 g/cm³

Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass

116.12 g/mol

Boiling Point

Not determined

Melting Point

240 to 241 °C

Chemical Formula


Dimethylglyoxime Structure – C4H8N2O2


Physical Properties of Dimethylglyoxime – C4H8N2O2




Off White Powder



Dipole moment


Hydrogen Bond Donor



Insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol

Chemical Properties of Dimethylglyoxime – C4H8N2O2

  • Nickel cation reacts with dimethylglyoxime forms an insoluble red precipitate of nickel dimethylglyoxime.

Ni2+ + 2C4H8N2O2 → Ni(C4H7N2O2)2↓(red precipitate) + 2H+

  • Dimethylglyoxime reacts with ferrous sulphate and ammonium hydroxide forms a complex compound of iron and ammonium sulphate and water is formed.

FeSO4 + 2NH4OH + 2C4H8N2O2 → Fe(C4H7N2O2)2 + (NH4)2SO4 + 2H2O

Uses of Dimethylglyoxime – C4H8N2O2

  • Widely used in analytical chemistry as a selective precipitating reagent, detecting reagent and photometric reagent for nickel, palladium, platinum and some other metal ions.
  • Used as a test for nickel release and used for jewellery and for other objects that come in direct contact with the skin. In many countries the dimethylglyoxime test is now commercially available in pharmacies or chemist shops.
  • Used as a specific precipitant for nickel and palladium. Nickel precipitates as a bright red voluminous compound from ammoniacal solution, white palladium come down as a yellow compound from dilute hydrochloric acid solutions. These are dried and weighed as stoichiometric compounds.

Practise This Question

Indicators are substances which show whether the substance tested is basic or acidic.

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