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IUPAC name 1,2-diaminoethane
Other names en
CAS number 107-15-3
RTECS number KH8575000
Molecular formula C2H8N2
Molar mass 60.10 g/mol
Appearance colourless liquid (impure: yellow)
Density 0.899 g/cm3, liquid
Melting point

9 °C

Boiling point

116 °C

Solubility in water Miscible in water
Solubility Most polar solvents
Basicity (pKb) 3.92
Molecular shape Tetrahedral at N and C
Main hazards Flammable, corrosive
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox disclaimer and references

Ethylenediamine is the organic compound with the formula C2H4(NH2)2. This colorless liquid with an ammonia-like odor is a strongly basic amine. It is a widely used building block in chemical synthesis, with approximately 500,000,000 kg being produced in 1998.[1]



Ethylenediamine is manufactured by reacting ammonia and 1,2-dichloroethane. The reaction yields the mixture of ethylenediamine and the linear polyamines. A simplified equation would be:

ClCH2CH2Cl + 4 NH3 → H2NCH2CH2NH2 + 2 NH4Cl


Ethylenediamine is used in large quantities for production of many industrial chemicals. It forms derivatives with carboxylic acids (including fatty acids), nitriles, alcohols (at elevated temperatures), alkylating agents, carbon disulfide, and aldehydes and ketones. Because of its bifunctional nature, having two amines, it readily forms heterocycles such as imidazolidines.

Precursor to chelating agents

The most prominent derivative of ethylenediamine is EDTA, which is derived from ethylenediamine via a Strecker synthesis involving cyanide and formaldehyde. Hydroxyethylethyelenediamine is another commercially significant chelating agent. The salen ligands, derived from the condensation of salicaldehydes and ethylenediamine, are popular chelating agents in the research laboratory although not commercially significant.[1]

Precursor to pharmaceuticals and agrichemicals

Numerous bio-active compounds contain the N-CH2-CH2-N linkage, including aminophylline and some antihistamines.[2] Salts of ethylenebisdithiocarbamate are commercially significant fungicides under the brandnames Maneb, Mancozeb, Zineb, and Metiram. Some imidazoline-containing fungicides are derived from ethylenediamine.[1]

Role in polymers

Ethylenediamine, by virtue of its bifunctionality (i.e. it contains two reactive amines) is widely used in diverse polyester formulations. Condensates derived from formaldehyde are plasticizers. It is widely used in the production of polyurethane fibers. The PAMAM class of dendrimers are derived from ethylenediamine.[1]


The bleaching activator tetraacetylethylenediamine is generated from ethylenediamine. The derivative N,N-ethylenebis(stearamide) (EBS) is a commercially significant mold-release agent and a surfactant in gasoline and motor oil.

Specialized applications

  • as a solvent, it is miscible with polar solvents and is used to solubilize proteins such as albumins and casein. It is also used in certain electroplating baths
  • as a corrosion inhibitor in paints and coolants.
  • ethylenediamine dihydroiodide (EDDI) is added to animal feeds as a source of iodide.
  • chemicals for color photography developing, binders, adhesives, fabric softeners, curing agents for epoxys, and dyes.

Coordination chemistry

Ethylenediamine is the prototypical chelating ligand for coordination compounds, such as [Co(ethylenediamine)3]3+.


Ethylenediamine is the first member of the so-called polyethylene amines, other members being:

  • Diethylenetriamine, abbreviated dien or DETA, (H2N-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH2, an analog of diethylene glycol)
  • Triethylenetetramine, abbreviated trien or TETA, (H2N-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH2)
  • Tetraethylenepentamine, abbreviated TEPA, (H2N-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH2),
  • Pentaethylenehexamine, abbreviated PEHA, (H2N-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH-CH2CH2-NH2), up to polyethylene amine. Similarly piperazine is an analogue of dioxane.

Related diamines

In terms of quantities produced, ethylenediamine is the most significant diamine (aside from diaminohexane, which is a precursor to Nylon 66). Related derivatives of ethylenediamine include tetramethylethylenediamine, abbreviated (TMEDA), (CH3)2N-CH2CH2-N(CH3)2

and tetraethylethylenediamine, abbreviated (TEEDA), (C2H5)2N-CH2CH2-N(C2H5)2


Ethylenediamine exposure can cause the skin to become irritated. It was used in commercially available skin products including Mycolog cream.[3] Ethylenediamine has a half-life of about 30 minutes and a small volume of distribution of 0.133 liters/kg. After oral administration its bioavailability is about 0.34, due to a substantial first-pass effect. Less than 20% is eliminated by renal excretion.[4]

See also

  • Diethylenetriamine
  • Triethylenetetramine
  • Polyethylene amine


  1. ^ a b c d Karsten Eller, Erhard Henkes, Roland Rossbacher, Hartmut Hŏke "Amines, Aliphatic" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Chemical Technolnogy, 2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim. DOE: 10.1002/14356007.a02 001
  2. ^ Kotti, S. R. S. S.; Timmons, C. and Li, G., "Vicinal diamino functionalities as privileged structural elements in biologically active compounds and exploitation of their synthetic chemistry", Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2006, 67, 101-114
  3. ^ Hogan DJ. (Jan 1990). "Allergic contact dermatitis to ethylenediamine. A continuing problem.". Dermatol Clin. 8 (1): 133-6. PMID 2137392.
  4. ^ Zuidema J. (23 Aug 1985 23). "Ethylenediamine, profile of a sensitizing excipient.". Pharmacy World & Science 7 (4): 134-40. doi:10.1007/BF02097249. PMID 3900925.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ethylenediamine". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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