|Preferred IUPAC name
|Systematic IUPAC name
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||45.04 g/mol|
|Appearance||Colorless, oily liquid|
|Melting point||2 to 3 °C (36 to 37 °F; 275 to 276 K)|
|Boiling point||210 °C (410 °F; 483 K)|
|Vapor pressure||0.08 mmHg at 20 °C|
|Acidity (pKa)||23.5 (in DMSO)|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|Flash point||154 °C (309 °F; 427 K) (closed cup)|
|NIOSH (US health exposure limits):|
|TWA 10 ppm (15 mg/m3) [skin]|
IDLH (Immediate danger)
|Carbamic acid |
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|(what is ?)|
Formamide, also known as methanamide, is an amide derived from formic acid. It is a clear liquid which is miscible with water and has an ammonia-like odor. It is chemical feedstock for the manufacture of sulfa drugs, other pharmaceuticals, herbicides, pesticides and the manufacture of hydrocyanic acid. It has been used as a softener for paper and fiber. It is a solvent for many ionic compounds. It has also been used as a solvent for resins and plasticizers.
Formamides are compounds of the type RR′NCHO. One important formamide is dimethylformamide, (CH3)2NCHO.
Formamide decomposes into carbon monoxide and ammonia at 180 °C.
Traces of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and water are also observed.
Formamide is also used as an RNA stabiliser in gel electrophoresis by deionizing RNA. In capillary electrophoresis, it is used for stabilizing (single) strands of denatured DNA.
Formamide is used to prepare primary amines directly from ketones via their N-formyl derivatives, using the Leuckart reaction.
Formamides are intermediates in the methanogenesis cycle.
Formamide has been proposed as an alternative solvent to water, perhaps with the ability to support life with alternative biochemistries to that currently found on Earth. It forms by the hydrolysis of hydrogen cyanide. With a large dipole moment, its solvation properties are similar to those of water.
The traditional name ‘formamide’ is retained for HCO-NH2 and is the preferred IUPAC name.