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Aldehydes are carbon chain molecules for which the primary carbon has a double bond with a terminating oxygen atom.

Their primary use is as an intermediate product which is created whole converting alcohols into organic acids. However a number of noteable aldhydes exist which we come into contact with on a regular basis.
  • Methanal (Formaldehyde) - CH2H is a common preservative used on the organic materials we find in in biology labs;
  • Ethanal (Acetaldehyde) - An biproduct of our body's processing of ethanol known to be responsible for hangovers;
  • Glucose - A sugar and the original natural sweetener;
  • Benzaldehyde - Used and industrial solvent it also finds use as an artificial almond flavouring;
  • Cinnamaldehyde - The active ingredient in cinnamon that gives it its distinctive spice flavouring;

Uses and Applications:

Aldehydes are useful in that they can be readily converted into organic acids by oxidixing them with agents such as potassium dichromate or potassium permanganate.

CH3CH=O + O ---> CH3COOH

Laboratory Preparation:

Aldehydes can be prepared by oxidizing primary alcohols using strong oxidizing agents such as potassium dichromate or potassium permanganate.

CH3CH2-OH + O ---> CH3CH=O + H2O

Naming Conventions:

Using IUPAC rules aldehydes are named by using the name of the parent alkane chain and changing the final "e" to an "al".

C5H12 is pentane

C5H10=O is pentanal


Wikipedia article on aldhydes
Perdue University article on aldehydes and ketones
Michigan State U. Article of Aldehydes and Ketones

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