DMSO is frequently used as a solvent for chemical reactions involving salts, most notably Finkelstein reactions and other nucleophilic substitutions.
It is also extensively used as an extractant in biochemistry and cell biology.
Because DMSO is only weakly acidic, it tolerates relatively strong bases and as such has been extensively used in the study of carbanions.
Because of its high boiling point, 189 °C (372 °F), DMSO evaporates slowly at normal atmospheric pressure.
Samples dissolved in DMSO cannot be as easily recovered compared to other solvents, as it is very difficult to remove all traces of DMSO by conventional rotary evaporation.
One technique to fully recover samples is removal of the organic solvent by evaporation followed by addition of water (to dissolve DMSO) and lyophilisation to remove both DMSO and water.
Reactions conducted in DMSO are often diluted with water to precipitate or phase-separate products.
The relatively high freezing point of DMSO, 18.5 °C (65.3 °F), means that at, or just below, room temperature it is a solid, which can limit its utility in some chemical processes (e.g. In its deuterated form (DMSO-d), it is a useful solvent for NMR spectroscopy, again due to its ability to dissolve a wide range of analytes, the simplicity of its own spectrum, and its suitability for high-temperature NMR spectroscopic studies.
Disadvantages to the use of DMSO-d It is widely used to strip photoresist in TFT-LCD 'flat panel' displays and advanced packaging applications (such as wafer-level packaging / solder bump patterning).
It also used in biopreservation especially stem cell banking.
DMSO is an effective paint stripper, being safer than many of the others such as nitromethane and dichloromethane.
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This colorless liquid is an important polar aprotic solvent that dissolves both polar and nonpolar compounds and is miscible in a wide range of organic solvents as well as water. DMSO has the unusual property that many individuals perceive a garlic-like taste in the mouth after contact with the skin.=35.