About Acrylonitrile Products

Acrylonitrile (AN), also known as vinyl cyanide (CH2=CH-C≡N), is a high volume commodity chemical with worldwide production of more than 10 billion pounds per year.  It contributes billions annually to the U.S. economy.  Acrylonitrile is used as a monomer in the production of acrylic and modacrylic fibers, which accounts for approximately 50% of its global use.  Acrylic fiber is used for clothing, carpeting and other fabrics and in the production of rugged plastics for automotive components, computers, and appliances. Acrylic fiber is also used in the manufacture of polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-base carbon fibers; which are increasingly important materials for lightweight, high-strength applications in aeronautics, automotive, engineering, etc.  Acrylonitrile is used as a co-monomer the production of acrylonitrile, butadiene, styrene (ABS) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) polymers, which accounts for an additional 31% of use.  These polymers are used in a wide range of oil- and chemical-resistant nitrile rubber for industrial hoses, gaskets and seals. Acrylonitrile is also used as an intermediate in the production of other industrial chemicals, such as adiponitrile and acrylamide.

Acrylonitrile (AN) is commercially produced by a reaction of propylene and ammonia in the presence of a catalyst. The commercial product is a clear colorless to pale yellow flammable liquid.  Having both olefinic (C=C) and nitrile (C-N) groups permits a large variety of reactions and makes AN a versatile chemical intermediate. The nitrile group can undergo hydrolysis, hydrogenation, esterification and reduction.  Reactions of the carbon double bond include polymerization, copolymerization, cyanoethylation, cyclization and halogenation.  One of the reasons for the versatility of acrylonitrile is that it can form copolymers with other unsaturated compounds, such as styrene and butadiene, for example a raw material for acrylic acid, acrylic esters, acrylic amide in the synthesis of compounds used for the production of adhesives, anti-oxidants, binders and emulsifiers. In its liquid state, acrylonitrile has a tendency to polymerize, which is prevented by the addition of phenolic or amine-based stabilizers and small quantities of water. 

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