Acetonitrile is the chemical compound
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

 with formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 . This colourless liquid is the simplest organic nitrile
A nitrile is any organic compound that has a -C≡N functional group. The prefix cyano- is used interchangeably with the term nitrile in industrial literature. Nitriles are found in many useful compounds, one example being super glue .Inorganic compounds containing the -C≡N group are not called...

. It is produced mainly as a byproduct of acrylonitrile
Acrylonitrile is the chemical compound with the formula C3H3N. This pungent-smelling colorless liquid often appears yellow due to impurities. It is an important monomer for the manufacture of useful plastics. In terms of its molecular structure, it consists of a vinyl group linked to a nitrile...

 manufacture. It is used as a polar aprotic solvent in organic synthesis and in the purification of butadiene.

In the laboratory, it is used as a medium-polarity solvent that is miscible
Miscibility is the property of liquids to mix in all proportions, forming a homogeneous solution. In principle, the term applies also to other phases , but the main focus is usually on the solubility of one liquid in another...

 with water and has a convenient liquid range. With a dipole moment
Electric dipole moment
In physics, the electric dipole moment is a measure of the separation of positive and negative electrical charges in a system of charges, that is, a measure of the charge system's overall polarity with SI units of Coulomb-meter...

 of 3.92 D
The debye is a CGS unit of electric dipole momentElectric dipole moment is defined as charge times displacement: Historically the debye was defined as the dipole moment resulting from two charges of opposite sign but an equal magnitude of 10-10 statcoulomb10-10 statcoulomb is approximately 0.2083...

, acetonitrile dissolves a wide range of ionic and nonpolar compounds (e.g.