Amyl nitrite is a yellowish liquid with sweet, almost fruity odor. It is composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. Although it occurs in two isomeric forms — n-amyl nitrite and isoamyl nitrite (3-methylamyl nitrite or 3-methylpentyl nitrite) — the terms "amyl nitrite" or "amyl" are usually used to mean the isoamyl (CAS No. 110-46-3).
The chemical is highly unstable and will break down on contact with air or water. It is insoluble in water (will float on top). Being an oxidizing agent, amyl nitrite may begin a reaction that results in detonation if combined with reducing agents such as sulfides or hydrides.
It has a flash point of 50F, boiling point of 219F and will auto-ignite at 410F.
Despite a very similar name, amyl nitrate (as opposed to nitrite) has a different chemical composition and properties.
Isoamyl nitrite is synthesized in the reaction between isoamyl alcohol and nitrous acid. Most commonly, starch is first combined with concentrated nitric acid to form gaseous nitrous acid, which is then passed through warm isoamyl alcohol.
Our AMN amyl nitrite is manufactured in strictly sterile industrial environment to the highest specification, resulting in over 98% purity of the final product.
Amyl nitrite has a wide variety of industrial and household uses. In the electronics industry, it is used as a printed-circuit cleaner, for example; in small quantities, it is added to perfumes; it will neutralize undesirable odors fast, hence its use in air-freshener products.
Household use typically includes effective stain removal from a variety of fabrics and leather, leather conditioning, or hobby/DIY related applications. The chemical's once-popular household use as a video head cleaner has been diminishing in line with the decline in use of magnetic tape devices.
When inhaled directly, amyl nitrite acts as a vasodilator, i.e. a substance causing blood vessels to relax, expand, and so ease the flow of blood throughout a person's body. Consequently, amyl was used as a defense against angina pectoris and chest pains before nitroglycerine was discovered. Present-day medical use of amyl nitrite is limited to emergency treatment of poisoning by hydrogen cyanide or hydrogen sulfide gas.
Inadvertent nitrite inhalation is the most common risk; it can cause flushing of the face, restlessness, confusion, headache, weakness and faintness and may eventually lead to a collapse. Physical contact with eyes or skin can cause irritation.
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