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A classification of organic compounds that have an unsaturated carbonyl group (C=O) at the end of a hydrocarbon chain. They have the general formula of RCHO. With the exception of Formaldehyde, which is a gas, the shorter chain aldehydes (up to C11) are pungent, volatile liquids. As the carbon chain length increases, their water solubility decreases, however, all aldehydes are soluble in alcohol. Aldehydes can be oxidized to form acids and reduced to form alcohols. Aldehydes are most often used as starting materials or intermediates in chemical syntheses and polymer production. Examples include Acetaldehyde, and Benzaldehyde.

Synonyms and Related Terms

alkanal (IUPAC); aldehyd (Dan., Nor., Pol., Sven.); Aldehyde (Deut.); Alkanale (Deut.); aldehído (Esp.); aldéhyde (Fr.); aldehyde (Ned.); alkanal (Ned.); aldeído (Port.);

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in ethanol and ether.

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 24
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988