What is Methylamine?

Methylamine Guide

At first glance, the general public may not realize the widespread use of the chemical compound methylamine in the products they use every day. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t impact their lives. 

Methylamine is found everywhere—it’s even likely that it was found in extraterrestrial ices as a building block of amino acids. Methylamine was one of several complex organic molecules that came from extraterrestrial sources like meteors, contributing significantly to Earth’s early chemistry

Methylamine is a very important chemical commonly used in a variety of applications like agricultural treatments, animal nutrients, catalysts, electronics, fuel additives, and more. Here’s what you need to know about the make-up and applications of methylamine.

What is Methylamine?

Methylamine is a chemical compound that’s a derivative of ammonia. It has the formula CH3NH2, which means that when compared to traditional ammonia, one Hydrogen atom has been replaced by a methyl, or hydrocarbon group. It’s a building block that’s used in the synthesis of other organic compounds and is typically sold in solutions in the form of:

  • Methanol
  • Ethanol
  • Tetrahydrofuran (THF)
  • And as anhydrous gas sold in pressurized metal containers.

As a derivative of ammonia, methylamine is a primary amine. The easiest way to think about this is as a near-relative of ammonia. Amines fall into different classes based on how many hydrogen atoms have been replaced by a hydrocarbon group. Since only one of the hydrogen atoms has been replaced in methylamine, it is a primary amine. An amine with two hydrogen atoms replaced is a secondary amine. Because of this, methylamine is the simplest chemical form of amine available. 

Simple amines like methylamine are soluble in water, much like ammonia, which is frequently supplied as an aqueous ammonia solution. Like ammonia, methylamine is gaseous at room temperature and must be compressed or put in a solution to be used as a liquid.

Methylamine has a strong, pungent, acrid smell that’s similar to rotten fish. It’s also a carefully controlled substance, as it’s on the DEA watchlist because it’s used in the manufacture of the drugs MDMA (also known as ecstasy) and methamphetamine. It is a hazardous substance and is regulated by:

  • OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • NIOSH: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • ACGIH: The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists

In the atmosphere, methylamine will exist in a colorless, gaseous state, and has a moderate ability to move through the soil. In water, methylamine will absorb to suspend solids and sediment. Industrially, it’s transported in its anhydrous form using pressurized trailers and even railcars.

According to Science Direct:

“Methylamines are important compounds, which can be utilized in a variety of applications including agricultural chemicals, paint industries, water treatment chemicals, as well as, pharmaceuticals, corrosion inhibitors, etc.”

Different Types of Methylamine and Their Uses

There are three kinds of methylamine:

  • Monomethylamine, or MMA
  • Dimethylamine, or DMA
  • Trimethylamine, or TMA

With each of these types of methylamine comes a myriad of uses and applications.  For example, TMA is used to manufacture choline chloride, which is a B-vitamin supplement found in animal feed for chickens, turkeys, and swine. While DMA is used in agricultural applications as an herbicide and fungicide, both TMA and MMA are used as insecticides—and TMA in particular acts as an especially volatile insecticide.

DMA is also used in the vulcanization and production of rubber and synthetic rubber products. It serves as a stabilizer for natural rubber products to ensure a high-quality end result. Interestingly enough, DMA is also the only one of the three methylamines used in the manufacture of soaps, cosmetics, hand lotions, shaving creams, and shampoos. Both DMA and TMA are used in the manufacture of different types of resins.

What are some other ways that these three methylamine products are used?


  • DMA is used in the production of a chemical that accelerates epoxy resins for laminates used in electrical equipment.
  • TMA is a critical component in the chemical compound used in the making of printed circuit boards.

Paper Chemicals

  • DMA and TMA are used to make the starches that go into making paper

Gas and Oil

  • MMA is one of several compounds that go into removing the acidic components of natural gas.
  • DMA reacts with carbon dioxide to create a chemical known as dimethylammonium, which is used to remove sulfur, olefins, and aromatic hydrocarbons from raw oil.
  • MMA, DMA, and TMA are all used as a component in fuel additives for gasoline, motor oil, jet fuel, coolants for high-speed engines, and more. 


  • MMA is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry to produce anticonvulsants, analgesics with antispasmodic and sedative effects, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and x-ray contrast mediums.
  • DMA is used in making local anesthetics, antihistamines, analgesics, antidepressants, and as an intermediate for tranquilizing agents.

General Applications for Methylamine

Methylamine, like industrial ammonia, has an incredibly wide array of uses. It is used in both organic synthesis and the tanning and dyeing of leather, but is also used:

  • As an intermediate for accelerators, pharmaceuticals, insecticides, fungicides, surface active cleaning agents
  • In the dyeing of acetate textiles
  • As a fuel additive
  • As a polymerization inhibitor
  • As a component in paint removers
  • As a solvent
  • As a photographic developer
  • As a rocket propellant

What’s more, methylamine is also used in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, surfactants, and explosives.

Like ammonia, methylamine is also used for treating water. DMA is used in water treatment as a raw material. The DMA produces agents that remove suspended solids from the water and promote the separation of solids and liquids in the sedimentation, filtration, and flotation stages of water treatment. 

Your Trusted Ammonia and Methylamine Partner

For over 20 years, Airgas Specialty Products has been the leading supplier of anhydrous methylamines in the United States, providing professional organizations with safe, reliable access to this essential compound. 

Methylamines are colorless and flammable and can burn and damage the respiratory tract, eyes, and skin. It’s essential to find a supplier that has a firm grasp on the safe transportation and delivery of methylamine. 

At Airgas Specialty Products, we have a complete product line of methylamine, including MMA, DMA, and TMA. To learn more about our methylamine products and services, contact us today.