CAS number 420-04-2 YesY
PubChem 9864
ChemSpider 9480 YesY
UNII 21CP7826LC YesY
EC number 206-992-3
UN number 2811
DrugBank DB02679
KEGG D00123 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:16698 YesY
RTECS number GS5950000
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula CH2N2
Molar mass 42.040 g/mol
Appearance Crystalline solid
Density 1.28 g/cm3
Melting point

44 °C

Boiling point

260 °C (decomp.)
83 °C at 6.7 Pa
140 °C at 2.5 kPa

Solubility in water 85 g/100 ml (25 °C)
Solubility in organic solvents soluble
EU Index 615-013-00-2
EU classification Toxic (T)
R-phrases R21, R25, R36/38, R43
S-phrases (S1/2), S3, S22, S36/37, S45
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
Flash point 141 °C
Related compounds
Related compounds Calcium cyanamide
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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Cyanamide is an organic compound with the formula CN2H2. This white solid is widely used in agriculture and the production of pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds. It is also used as an alcohol deterrent drug in Canada, Europe and Japan. The molecule features a nitrile group attached to an amino group. Although it is similar in structure to hydrogen cyanide, it is not as toxic. Derivatives of this compound are also referred to as cyanamides, the most common being calcium cyanamide (CaCN2).


Tautomers and self-condenstations

Containing both a nucleophilic and electrophilic site within the same molecule, cyanamide undergoes various reactions with itself. Cyanamide exists as two tautomers, one with the connectivity NCNH2 and the other with the formula HNCNH ("diimide" tautomer). The NCNH2 form dominates, but in a few reactions (e.g. silylation) the diimide form appears to be important.

Cyanamide dimerizes to give 2-cyanoguanidine (dicyandiamide). This decomposition process is disfavored by acids and is inhibited by low temperatures. The trimer is called melamine.

Production, reactions, uses

Cyanamide is produced by hydrolysis of calcium cyanamide, which in turn is prepared from calcium carbide via the Frank-Caro process.

CaCN2 + H2O + CO2 → CaCO3 + H2NCN

The conversion is conducted on slurries, consequently most commercial cyanamide is sold as an aqueous solution.

The main reaction exhibited by cyanamide involves additions of compounds containing an acidic proton. Water, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrogen selenide react with cyanamide to give urea, thiourea, and selenourea, respectively:

H2NCN + H2E → H2NC(E)NH2 (E = O, S, Se)

In this way, cyanamide behaves as a dehydration agent and thus can induce condensation reactions. Alcohols, thiols, and amines react analogously to give alkylisoureas, "pseudothioureas," and guanidines. The anti-ulcer drug cimetidine is generated using such reactivity. Related reactions exploit the bifunctionality of cyanamide to give heterocycles, and this latter reactivity is the basis of several pharmaceutical syntheses such as the aminopyrimidine imatinib) and agrichemicals Amitrol (3-Amino-1,2,4-triazole) and Hexazinone. The hair-loss treatment Minoxidil and the anthelmintic (worm-killing) drugs Albendazole, Flubendazole, and Mebendazole feature 2-aminoimidazole substructures derived from cyanamide.[1]

Cyanamide (U.S. trade name Dormex) is a common agricultural rest-breaking agent applied in spring to stimulate uniform opening of buds, early foliation and bloom. Dormex can effectively compensate for the moderate lack of chilling units accumulated in the previous autumn and save the harvest that would otherwise be lost. Overdosage, high concentration and error in timing of application can damage the buds (especially of peach trees).[2]

Environmental aspects

Cyanamide degrades via hydrolysis to urea, an excellent fertilizer. Microorganisms, e.g. the bacterium Myrothecium verrucaria, accelerate this process utilizing the enzyme cyanamide hydratase.


Cyanamide has a modest toxicity in humans.[3] Workplace exposure to hydrogen cyanamide sprays or exposure in people living in the vicinity of spraying have been reported as causing respiratory irritation, contact dermatitis, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.[3]

See also

  • Carbamide, synonym of urea


  1. ^ Thomas Güthner; Bernd Mertschenk (2006). "Cyanamides". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a08_139.pub2. 
  2. ^ Powell, A. (1999). Action Program for Dormex Application on Peaches. Auburn University. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
  3. ^ a b Schep L, Temple W, Beasley M (January 2009). "The adverse effects of hydrogen cyanamide on human health: an evaluation of inquiries to the New Zealand National Poisons Centre". Clinical Toxicology (Philadelphia, PA) 472 (1): 58–60. doi:10.1080/15563650802459254. PMID 18951270. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cyanamide — [ sjanamid ] n. f. • 1851; de cyan(o) et amide ♦ Chim. Corps dérivant de l ammoniac par substitution du groupe CN à un atome d hydrogène. Cyanamide calcique, engrais azoté. ● cyanamide nom masculin Amide de l acide cyanique, NC―NH2. (Sa… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • cyanamide — [sī an′əmid, sī an′əidsī an′ə mīd΄, sī an′əmid΄; sī΄ə nam′īd΄, sī΄ə nam′id΄] n. [ CYAN + AMIDE] 1. a caustic, white, crystalline compound, H2N·CN, usually prepared by the reaction of carbon dioxide with calcium cyanamide in water and used to make …   English World dictionary

  • Cyanamide — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Le mot cyanamide peut désigner : le cyanamide hydrogène (CH2N2), le cyanamide calcique (CaCN2). Catégorie : Ho …   Wikipédia en Français

  • cyanamide — /suy an euh mid, muyd , suy euh nam uyd, id/, n. Chem. 1. a white, crystalline, unstable, deliquescent solid, CH2N2, usually produced by the action of ammonia on cyanogen chloride or by the action of sulfuric acid on calcium cyanamide. 2. (not in …   Universalium

  • cyanamide — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1838 1. a caustic acidic compound CH2N2 2. calcium cyanamide …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cyanamide — An irritating and caustic water soluble substance, H2NCN or HN=C=NH; often used in referring to calcium c.. * * * cy·an·a·mide (si anґə mīd) 1. carbamic acid nitril, N C NH2. 2. HN C NH, the anhydride of urea. 3. calcium cyanamide …   Medical dictionary

  • cyanamide — cy•an•a•mide or cy•an•a•mid [[t]saɪˈæn ə mɪd[/t]] n. 1) chem. a white crystalline solid, CH2N2, produced by the action of ammonia or sulfuric acid on cyanic compounds 2) chem. calcium cyanamide • Etymology: 1830–40 …   From formal English to slang

  • cyanamide — /saɪˈænəmaɪd/ (say suy anuhmuyd), /ˈsaɪənəmaɪd/ (say suyuhnuhmuyd) noun 1. a white crystalline compound, H2NCN, obtainable by the action of ammonia on cyanogen chloride or from calcium cyanamide. 2. an ester or salt of this substance. Also,… …  

  • cyanamide — cianamidas statusas T sritis chemija formulė M₂CN₂ atitikmenys: angl. cyanamide rus. цианамид ryšiai: sinonimas – karbodiiminatas (2–) …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • Cyanamide Hydrogène — Cyanamide Général Synonym …   Wikipédia en Français

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