Dimethylformamide (DMF) is a clear, colorless, hygroscopic liquid with a slight amine odor. The solvent properties of DMF are particularly attractive because of the high dielectric constant, the aprotic nature of the solvent, its wide liquid range and low volatility. It is frequently used for chemical reactions and other applications, which require a high solvency power. The product is known as a universal solvent.
The high solubility of polyacrylonitrile in DMF, together with the good miscibility of DMF in water makes DMF the preferred solvent for the production of acrylic fibers. Also the spinning of polyurethane based elastomers is performed from DMF based solutions.
Another significant application is the use of DMF as a solvent for polyurethane-based coatings on leather and artificial leather fabrics.
Polymers like polyvinylchloride, vinylchloride- vinylacetate copolymers and some polyamides are also readily dissolved in DMF. DMF is also used in epoxy based formulations.
The pharmaceutical industry uses DMF as a reaction and crystallization solvent because of its exceptional solvency parameters.
In the petrochemical industry DMF is used for the purification of acetylene from ethylene and butadiene from C4 streams. Also for the separation of aromatics, which can be easily dissolved by DMF from aliphatic hydrocarbons. Those aliphatics are used in lube oils.
Due to the high solubility of SO2 in DMF, exhaust combustion streams from high sulfur containing fuels can be purified with CO2 being recovered.
Inorganic and organic based residual fluxes are highly soluble in DMF; therefore this solvent is used as a cleaner, for instance to clean hot-dip tinned parts. DMF is also used as industrial paint stripper.
This high solubility of inorganic substances also leads to the application of DMF in the production of high voltage capacitors.
DMF is also used as carrier for inks and dyes in various printing and fiber-dying applications.
DMF is widely used as a solvent, reagent and catalyst in the synthetic organic chemistry.