Amines are capable of entering into a variety of reactions because of the replaceability of the hydrogen atoms attached to the nitrogen and because of the basic functionality of the nitrogen atom. They are therefore important intermediates for chemical syntheses. Thus, examples of products obtained by reacting amines are as follows:

  • with carboxylic acid chlorides, carboxylic acid anhydrides and also esters: substituted acid amides,
  • with phosgene: isocyanates, carbamoyl chlorides, urea derivatives,
  • with alkylene oxide: alkoxylated amines,
  • with short-chain alkyl halides and dialkyl sulfates: quaternary ammonium compounds,
  • with carbon dioxide: N-alkylcarbamic acids,
  • on heating under pressure with carbon dioxide: N,N’- dialkyl ureas,
  • with isocyanates: substituted urea derivatives,
  • with aldehydes or ketones: Schiff bases.
  • Some reactions can be performed selectively only with primary, secondary or tertiary amines:
  • primary and secondary amines with acrylonitrile yield: aminopropionitriles, which can be hydrogenated to diamines and polyamines,
  • primary or secondary amines with monochloroacetic acid or its esters or with unsaturated acids yield: N-alkylamino acids,
  • tertiary amines with hydrogen peroxide form: amine oxides