Methylamines are used directly as catalysts or as raw materials to produce other compounds with catalytic activity. MDEA (see Gas and Oil Treatment) made from MMA is used as a urethane catalyst. DMAE (see Water Treatment) made from DMA is also used as a urethane catalyst to promote foam rise and gel strength for insulation applications, such as refrigerators. DMAPA (see Personal Care) is also used as a urethane catalyst. It is made from the reaction of dimethylamine with acrylonitrile, followed by hydrogenation.
Hydrochlorides of MMA and DMA in the presence of cupric chloride are used for the polymerization of acetylene to vinyl and divinyl acetylene. MMA and DMA are used as catalysts for the dealdolization of diacetone alcohol. TMA is a catalyst for ethyl alcohol to ethylene oxide and for Diels-Alder diene association reactions. DMA and calcium sulfate are used to prepare dinitroalkanes and nitroolefins. MMA and DMA can be used for the condensation of phenol and formaldehyde. DMA is a catalyst to condense acetone with formaldehyde to produce synthetic resins used in paper bonding and coating.