tert-Butyl isocyanide is an organic compound with the formula Me3CNC (Me = methyl, CH3). It is an isocyanide, commonly called isonitrile or carbylamine, as defined by the functional group C≡N-R. tert-Butyl isocyanide, like most alkyl isocyanides, is a reactive colorless liquid with an extremely unpleasant odor. It forms stable complexes with transition metals and can insert into metal-carbon bonds. tert-Butyl isocyanide is prepared by a Hofmann carbylamine reaction. In this conversion, a dichloromethane solution of tert-butylamine is treated with chloroform and aqueous sodium hydroxide in the presence of catalytic amount of the phase transfer catalyst benzyltriethylammonium chloride. tert-Butyl isocyanide is isomeric with pivalonitrile, also known as tert-butyl cyanide. The difference, as with all carbylamine analogs of nitriles, is that the bond joining the CN functional group to the parent molecule is made on the nitrogen, not the carbon.
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