Nitriles are the organic compounds in the organic chemistry which are also called as Cyano Compounds. These class of organic compounds the functional group called cyano group represented as (−C ≡ N), and it is attached to the carbon atom.Nitriles

The compound Acrylonitrile is processed in a large number of quantities by the process of ammoxidation which depends on the oxidation state of the propylene in presence of ammonia and catalyst. This compound forms an important constituent of the polymeric substances, also which includes acrylic textile fibers, synthetic rubbers as well as thermoplastic resins.
Some compounds of nitriles are mainly manufactured by heating up of carboxylic acids with the ammonia compound in presence of some catalysts. This is a process which is employed in the preparation of nitriles from oils and fats, these products are being used as the softening agents in substances such as synthetic rubbers, textiles, plastics and also in the making of amines. Nitriles compounds are also formed by the process of heating amides with the phosphorous pentoxide compound. They can also be reduced to some of the primary amines by reacting lithium aluminum hydride or getting it hydrolyzed to carboxylic acids in presence of acid or base.


The chemical and physical properties of nitriles are given below-

  • Nitriles are somewhat like colorless solids and liquids having unique odors
  • They have boiling points measuring between 82-118 °C.
  • Nitriles exhibit strong dipole-dipole movements and also the van der Waals forces of dispersion between the molecules.
  • They also show high polar and electronegativity.
  • These are said to be highly soluble in water, and the solubility decreases as the length of chain increases.


Nitrile undergoes various process of reactions as shown below-

  1. Hydrolysis- The hydrolysis of nitriles in the presence of an acid or a base produces carboxamides and carboxylic acids in an efficient way.
  1. Reduction- Nitriles are reduced to primary and tertiary amines by treating them with lithium aluminium hydride. The reduction process occurs in the presence of some catalysts.
  1. Alkylation- The Alkylation of nitrile compounds leads to the formation of nitrile anions.

The other reactions are nucleophilic addition reactions, Friedel–Crafts acylation, etc.


Nitriles finds its uses in various medical and industrial application of which some are listed below-

  • Nitriles are used in the manufacture of nitrile gloves, seals, and hoses as they exhibit resistance to chemicals.
  • They are used as an antidiabetic drug which is used in the treatment of breast cancers.
  • The compound of nitrile called as pericyazine is used in treating opiate dependence as antipsychotic.
  • This compound is found in many plant and animal sources.
  • They are utilized in the applications of oil resistant substances and also for low-temperature uses

They are also employed in automotive systems, hydraulic hoses and also in aircraft systems.

Practise This Question

Nitrogen is relatively inactive element because