Acetaldehyde (ethanal) (CH₃CHO)

Acetaldehyde (ethanal) (CH₃CHO)

An aldehyde which is an important raw material and intermediate product in industry.



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Acetaldehyde, ethanal CH₃CHO


Molar mass: 44.05 g/mol

Melting point: -123.5 °C

Boiling point: 20.2 °C

Heat of combustion: -1,167 kJ/mol

Density: 0.7834 g/cm³


Acetaldehyde is a colourless liquid with a characteristic smell; it evaporates easily. Its reductive properties can be shown with the Tollens’ and Fehling’s tests. In an acidic environment it is converted into a solid white substance.

It is flammable.

Acetaldehyde dissolves well in water and organic solvents. It breaks down into methane and carbon monoxide at high temperatures. Its reduction results in ethanol, while its oxidation results in acetic acid.

Occurrence and production

Acetaldehyde occurs as an intermediate product of alcoholic fermentation, in some cases it can also be found in urine.

Formerly it was produced through the dehydrogenation of ethanol, today it is produced through the catalytic oxidation of acetylene.


It is an important raw material and intermediate product in the production of acetic acid, alcohols, resins and synthetic rubber.



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One of the most important esters, produced by the reaction of ethanol and acetic acid.

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