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Primary Amines vs. Tertiary Amines: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 26, 2023
Primary amines have one alkyl or aryl group attached to the nitrogen, while tertiary amines have three.

Key Differences

Primary amines contain one carbon-nitrogen single bond, while tertiary amines have three carbon-nitrogen bonds.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
In primary amines, the nitrogen atom is bonded to one carbon and two hydrogens, whereas in tertiary amines, it's bonded to three carbon atoms.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
Primary amines have higher boiling points compared to tertiary amines due to the presence of hydrogen bonding.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
Tertiary amines are typically more sterically hindered than primary amines, affecting their reactivity and usage in chemical synthesis.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
Primary amines can undergo further alkylation to form secondary and tertiary amines, but tertiary amines cannot be further alkylated without changing the nitrogen's hybridization.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Alkyl Groups

One alkyl or aryl group
Three alkyl or aryl groups
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Oct 26, 2023

Hydrogen Atoms

Two hydrogens bonded to nitrogen
No hydrogen bonded to nitrogen
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Oct 26, 2023

Boiling Point

Higher due to hydrogen bonding
Lower due to lack of hydrogen bonding
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Oct 26, 2023

Steric Hindrance

Less sterically hindered
More sterically hindered
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

Further Alkylation

Can be further alkylated
Cannot be further alkylated
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Oct 26, 2023
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Primary Amines and Tertiary Amines Definitions

Primary Amines

Amines where nitrogen is bonded to one carbon.
Ethylamine is a primary amine used in pharmaceuticals.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Tertiary Amines

Amines with no hydrogen atoms bonded to nitrogen.
Tripropylamine, a tertiary amine, lacks hydrogen on its nitrogen atom.
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Oct 26, 2023

Primary Amines

Less sterically hindered amines.
Butylamine, a primary amine, reacts readily due to less steric hindrance.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Tertiary Amines

More sterically hindered amines.
Tributylamine, a tertiary amine, shows reduced reactivity due to steric hindrance.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Primary Amines

Amines with two hydrogen atoms bonded to nitrogen.
Propylamine, a primary amine, is used in chemical synthesis.
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Oct 26, 2023

Tertiary Amines

Amines where nitrogen is bonded to three carbons.
Triethylamine is a tertiary amine used as a catalyst.
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Oct 26, 2023

Primary Amines

Amines capable of further alkylation.
The primary amine, hexylamine, can be converted to a secondary amine.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Tertiary Amines

Amines that cannot be further alkylated.
The tertiary amine, trihexylamine, cannot undergo further alkylation.
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Oct 26, 2023

Primary Amines

Organic compounds with one alkyl group attached to nitrogen.
Methylamine is a primary amine used in making pesticides.
Huma Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Tertiary Amines

Organic compounds with three alkyl groups attached to nitrogen.
Trimethylamine is a tertiary amine with a strong odor.
Huma Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

FAQs

How many hydrogen atoms are bonded to nitrogen in primary amines?

Two hydrogen atoms.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

What is a tertiary amine?

An organic compound with three alkyl groups attached to nitrogen.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Are primary amines more reactive than tertiary amines?

Generally, yes, due to less steric hindrance.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Are tertiary amines more sterically hindered than primary amines?

Yes, tertiary amines are more sterically hindered.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Which has a higher boiling point, primary or tertiary amines?

Primary amines generally have a higher boiling point.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Can primary amines undergo further alkylation?

Yes, they can be converted to secondary or tertiary amines.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Can primary amines participate in acid-base reactions?

Yes, they can act as bases.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

What is a primary amine?

An organic compound with one alkyl group attached to nitrogen.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

Can tertiary amines undergo further alkylation?

No, they cannot be further alkylated without changing the nitrogen's hybridization.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Are primary amines found in nature?

Yes, they are found in various natural sources.
Sara Rehman
Oct 26, 2023

Are tertiary amines soluble in water?

They are less soluble compared to primary amines.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Are there any hydrogen atoms bonded to nitrogen in tertiary amines?

No, there are no hydrogen atoms bonded to nitrogen in tertiary amines.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

What's an example of a tertiary amine?

Trimethylamine is an example of a tertiary amine.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Do tertiary amines form hydrogen bonds?

No, they lack hydrogen on nitrogen for hydrogen bonding.
Janet White
Oct 26, 2023

Are tertiary amines common in pharmaceuticals?

Yes, they are used in the synthesis of several drugs.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 26, 2023

Do tertiary amines have a higher or lower boiling point than primary amines?

Tertiary amines have a lower boiling point.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 26, 2023

What's an example of a primary amine?

Methylamine is an example of a primary amine.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023

Can primary amines form hydrogen bonds?

Yes, they can form hydrogen bonds.
Harlon Moss
Oct 26, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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