Triethylamine is a synthetic chemical compound with the formula: N(CH2CH3)3. This formula is commonly abbreviated as Et3N or TEA. The "TEA" abbreviation must be carefully used in order to prevent confusion with triethanolamine or tetraethyl ammonium, however. As a hydrochloride salt, it is a colorless, volatile liquid substance with a strong "fishy" odor.
TEA is created by alkalizing ethanol with ammonia. As a hydrochloride salt, triethylamine is an odorless, colorless powder that attracts and holds water molecules very easily. In this form, TEA decomposes at an ambient temperature of 261 degrees Celsius.
TEA is a commonly used base in the organic synthesis of other chemical compounds. This is especially true of amides from acyl chlorides and esters. In the industrial arena, TEA is primarily used to produce quatemary ammoniums ("QAs") for textiles and the QA salt derivative of various fabric dyes.
Because it also functions as an acid neutralizer and chemical catalyst, it is often used in an intermediate capacity for pesticide and medication manufacturing.