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Formaldehyde (methanal) (CH₂O)

Formaldehyde (methanal) (CH₂O)

The simplest aldehyde.

Chemistry

Keywords

chemistry, formaldehyde, methanal, aldehyde, oxo compound

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Formaldehyde, methanal CH₂O

Information

Molar mass: 30.03 g/mol

Melting point: -92 °C

Boiling point: -21 °C

Density: 1.38 g/cm³

Relative steam density (air=1): 1.08

Heat of combustion: -561 kJ/mol

Properties

Pure, water-free formaldehyde is a colourless gas with a pungent odour. It dissolves well in water, a 35-40% solution of it in water is called formalin. If formalin is stored for a long period of time or evaporated, formaldehyde molecules polymerise and a colourless, crystalline material called paraformaldehyde is formed. It breaks down into hydrogen and carbon-monoxide above 400 °C. Pure and dissolved formaldehyde tends to be involved in addition, condensation, redox and polymerisation reactions. It reduces metal salt solutions.

It is a highly flammable compound and burns with a bluish flame into carbon-dioxide and water.

Formaldehyde gives a positive test result on the silver mirror test since it reduces silver ions into silver atoms in an alkaline environment. Its reducing properties can also be proved with Fehling’s test, since it converts copper-II ions into copper-I ions.

Formalin precipitates and coagulates proteins so it is a strong toxin.

Occurrence and production

Formaldehyde is produced during the oxidation of methanol or by the depolymerisation of paraformaldehyde in laboratories, and by the dehydration of methanol or the oxidation of gaseous hydrocarbons in industry. A small amount of formaldehyde forms during the incomplete combustion of wood, coal and sugar.

Uses

Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of phenoplasts, urea, acetate resins and colourings. It is also used as a disinfectant and as a preservative.

Formaldehyde is an important base material in the production of plastics: synthetic keratin is made from casein and formalin, aminoplasts from formaldehyde and different amines, phenoplasts from phenols and formaldehyde and urea resin from urea and formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde and hydrogen-chloride gas can be used in the chloromethylation of aromatic compounds.

Space-filling

Formaldehyde, methanal CH₂O

Information

Molar mass: 30.03 g/mol

Melting point: -92 °C

Boiling point: -21 °C

Density: 1.38 g/cm³

Relative steam density (air=1): 1.08

Heat of combustion: -561 kJ/mol

Properties

Pure, water-free formaldehyde is a colourless gas with a pungent odour. It dissolves well in water, a 35-40% solution of it in water is called formalin. If formalin is stored for a long period of time or evaporated, formaldehyde molecules polymerise and a colourless, crystalline material called paraformaldehyde is formed. It breaks down into hydrogen and carbon-monoxide above 400 °C. Pure and dissolved formaldehyde tends to be involved in addition, condensation, redox and polymerisation reactions. It reduces metal salt solutions.

It is a highly flammable compound and burns with a bluish flame into carbon-dioxide and water.

Formaldehyde gives a positive test result on the silver mirror test since it reduces silver ions into silver atoms in an alkaline environment. Its reducing properties can also be proved with Fehling’s test, since it converts copper-II ions into copper-I ions.

Formalin precipitates and coagulates proteins so it is a strong toxin.

Occurrence and production

Formaldehyde is produced during the oxidation of methanol or by the depolymerisation of paraformaldehyde in laboratories, and by the dehydration of methanol or the oxidation of gaseous hydrocarbons in industry. A small amount of formaldehyde forms during the incomplete combustion of wood, coal and sugar.

Uses

Formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of phenoplasts, urea, acetate resins and colourings. It is also used as a disinfectant and as a preservative.

Formaldehyde is an important base material in the production of plastics: synthetic keratin is made from casein and formalin, aminoplasts from formaldehyde and different amines, phenoplasts from phenols and formaldehyde and urea resin from urea and formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde and hydrogen-chloride gas can be used in the chloromethylation of aromatic compounds.

Narration

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