July 20, 2010 5:08 PM   Subscribe

I can't get the phrase "Nonoxyl-1,5-Triethylamine" out of my head. Obviously, it is an IUPAC name for an organic chemical, but AP Chemistry was a long time ago and I can't quite map out if it's valid— my hunch is "no." Is there a notable chemical that has a similar name that I might be half-remembering? More importantly, is there a website where I can look things like this up in the future?
posted by Electrius to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
ChemSpider is good if you know that something actually exists. For example, 1,5-Triethylamine. It can't really help if something doesn't exist though.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:17 PM on July 20, 2010

An amine is a nitrogen with stuff bonded to it. A Nitrogen with no net charge bonds with no more than three other atoms. Triethylamine is a real chemical (nitrogen with three ethyl groups attached to it), but it isn't going to bond to your "nonoxyl" since it is already attached to three things. Also there is no 5 position on an amine. I'm trying to think of what nonoxyl could refer to but I'm coming up with nothing.
posted by rancidchickn at 5:30 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I think this is a snipe hunt.
posted by Electrius at 5:38 PM on July 20, 2010

Response by poster: Nonoxyl I think is supposed to be nonxynol.
posted by Electrius at 5:39 PM on July 20, 2010

Do you mean nonoxynol? Nonoxynol-9 is a surfactant that's used in contraceptives, among other things. Dunno where your triethylamine comes into the pictur, though.
posted by Quietgal at 6:03 PM on July 20, 2010

Nonoxyl presumably is from the nonoxynol, a class of compounds that are normally thought of a surfactants. The most famous is nonoxynol-9, a common spermicide. Unfortunately these are also probably estrogen mimics and endocrine disruptors. Were it functionalized, removing the terminal -OH at the end of the chain, I'm guessing it would be nonoxy- rather than nonoxyl (eg ethoxynol goes to ethoxy-).

Now, it's true that a triethyl amine is fully substituted by normal chemical rules, however, it's possible to stick a fourth covalent bond on the nitrogen, forming a cation, called a quaternary amonium ion.

The 1,5 bit doesn't seem meaningful in this context. I can't see what it would refer to.

A nonoxytriethylamonium cation might be possible, but I'm not an organiker enough to guess at a synthetic route. A quick look through various resources yields nothing in terms of publications on it. I doubt if it's ever been (intentionally) made.
posted by bonehead at 6:15 PM on July 20, 2010

In future you could look at the National Library of Medicine MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) Browser. You can enter in a whole chemical (or anything medical/life science related, really) or just a part of a chemical name (click "search fragment") and bring up every chemical that has that fragment in it.
posted by gaspode at 7:49 PM on July 20, 2010

Does it come from this brilliant earworm from Warren Zevon?
posted by zepheria at 8:20 AM on July 21, 2010

Those Zevon lyrics are on my wall at work and, to date, no one has ever caught on that it wasn't some stuff I needed to order from Sigma.

I find myself wondering if the last bit shouldn't be "1,3,5 ethylamine" - like a benzene ring with and ethyl group sticking off every other carbon with an amine on the far end.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:18 PM on July 22, 2010

« Older Help keep my FIL's medication straight!   |   PLease help me remember a comedy bit from late... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.