Formaldehyde - CH2O

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is the simplest aldehyde made of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen with the formula CH2O.

Formaldehyde is one of a large family of chemicals known as volatile organic compounds which evaporates and become gaseous at room temperature.

Formaldehyde is a reactive molecule and first in the series of aliphatic aldehydes. It is one of the most important industrial chemicals. Formaldehyde is usually described as a gas, but it also exists dissolved in water or other solvents. Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring substance used in a wide variety of applications.

Other names – formalin, methanal, formol

CH2O Formaldehyde
Density 815 kg/m³
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 30.031 g/mol
Boiling Point -19 °C
Melting Point -92.0 oC
Chemical Formula HCHO

Formaldehyde Structure – CH2O


Formaldehyde Structure

Structure of Formaldehyde

Physical Properties of Formaldehyde – CH2O

Odour Suffocating odour
Appearance Colourless gas
Covalently-Bonded Unit 1
Hydrogen Bond Acceptor 1
Complexity 2
Solubility Soluble in water and acetone.

Chemical Properties of Formaldehyde – CH2O

    • Formaldehyde reacts with a base like sodium hydroxide forms sodium formate and methanol. The chemical equation is given below.


    • Formaldehyde reacts with ammonia forms formamidine and water. The chemical equation is given below.

6HCHO + 4NH3 → (CH2)6N4 + 6H2O

Uses of Formaldehyde – CH2O

  • Used in the production of resins, principally urea formaldehyde and phenol-formaldehyde, which are used to make cores and moulds for foundries.
  • Used in agriculture and medicine where it is used as a disinfectant, fungicide, fumigant and preservatives.
  • Formaldehyde is used to produce a wide array of products, particularly building materials.

Keep visiting Byjus – The Learning App to learn more about chemical compounds.

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