Methyl isocyanide
Methyl isocyanide or Isocyanomethane is an organic compound
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

 and a member of the isocyanide
An isocyanide is an organic compound with the functional group -N≡C. It is the isomer of the related cyanide , hence the prefix iso....

 family. This colorless liquid is structurally similar to the isomeric methyl cyanide (acetonitrile
Acetonitrile is the chemical compound with formula . This colourless liquid is the simplest organic nitrile. It is produced mainly as a byproduct of acrylonitrile manufacture...

), but its reactivity is very different. Methyl isocyanide is mainly used for making 5-membered heterocyclic rings or circlets.


Methyl isocyanide was first prepared Gautier by reaction of silver cyanide
Silver cyanide
Silver cyanide is the chemical compound with the formula AgCN. This white solid forms upon treatment of solutions containing Ag+ with cyanide. This precipitation step is used in some schemes to recover silver from solution...

 with methyl iodide. The common method for preparing methyl isocyanides is the dehydration of N-methylformamide
N-Methylformamide is a colorless, nearly odorless, organic compound with molecular formula CH3NHCHO, which is a liquid at room temperature. It is infinitely soluble in water...



Methyl isocyanide is useful for the preparation of various heterocycles. It is also a ligand in organometallic chemistry.

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