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Acetaldehyde is a simple organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CHO. It is a colorless liquid with a pungent, fruity odor. Here are some key points about acetaldehyde:

  1. Chemical Structure: Acetaldehyde consists of two carbon atoms, one oxygen atom, and four hydrogen atoms. Its structure is CH3CHO, where the carbon atom in the middle is doubly bonded to an oxygen atom and singly bonded to a hydrogen atom and a methyl group (CH3).
  2. Occurrence: Acetaldehyde can be found naturally in various ripe fruits, coffee, and heated milk. It is also produced by the oxidation of ethanol (alcohol) by enzymes in the liver and other tissues in humans, making it an intermediate product in alcohol metabolism.



In laboratory settings, acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) has several important uses and applications:

  1. Chemical Synthesis: Acetaldehyde serves as a precursor or intermediate in the synthesis of various organic compounds. It is particularly useful in the production of acetic acid, a widely used chemical in industries ranging from food processing to pharmaceuticals.
  2. Reagent: Acetaldehyde is used as a reagent in organic chemistry reactions. It can undergo various transformations such as oxidation to form acetic acid, reduction to form ethanol, and condensation reactions to form aldol products.
  3. Solvent: Acetaldehyde can act as a solvent for polar and non-polar compounds, depending on the reaction or extraction being conducted in the laboratory.
  4. Microbiology: In microbiology, acetaldehyde is sometimes used as a fixative in preparing samples for electron microscopy and other imaging techniques.
  5. Analytical Chemistry: Acetaldehyde is used in analytical chemistry as a standard reference material or as a component in calibration solutions for chromatography and spectroscopy methods.


  1. Research: It is used in research settings to study its reactions and properties, as well as its effects on biological systems.
  2. Preservative: Acetaldehyde can be used as a preservative for biological specimens due to its ability to fix tissues.
  3. Crosslinking Agent: In polymer chemistry, acetaldehyde can be used as a crosslinking agent for certain polymers, improving their mechanical and thermal properties.
SKU: ACS78925CHEM0 Category:

Safety precautions are crucial when handling acetaldehyde in laboratory settings due to its toxicity and flammability. Here are important safety measures to consider:

  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
    • Wear appropriate laboratory attire, including a lab coat, gloves (chemical-resistant), safety goggles, and closed-toe shoes to protect skin and eyes from direct contact with acetaldehyde.
  2. Ventilation:
    • Work in a well-ventilated area or use a fume hood to prevent inhalation of acetaldehyde vapors. Ensure that the fume hood is functioning properly and that airflow is adequate to remove airborne contaminants.
  3. Handling and Storage:
    • Store acetaldehyde in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from heat, ignition sources, and incompatible materials.
    • Handle acetaldehyde with care to prevent spills. Clean up spills immediately using appropriate absorbent materials and dispose of waste according to local regulations.
  4. Fire Safety:
    • Acetaldehyde is highly flammable. Keep it away from heat, sparks, open flames, and hot surfaces.
    • Use non-sparking tools and equipment when handling acetaldehyde to minimize the risk of ignition.
  5. First Aid:
    • In case of skin contact, immediately remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin thoroughly with water. Seek medical attention if irritation persists.
    • In case of eye contact, flush eyes with water for at least 15 minutes while holding eyelids open. Seek medical attention promptly.
    • If inhaled, move to fresh air immediately. If breathing difficulties occur, seek medical attention.
    • If swallowed, rinse mouth with water and seek medical attention immediately.
  6. Storage and Disposal:
    • Follow proper storage and disposal procedures as outlined in safety data sheets (SDS) and local regulations. Do not dispose of acetaldehyde down the drain or in regular trash.
  7. Emergency Procedures:
    • Know the location of emergency equipment such as safety showers, eyewash stations, fire extinguishers, and spill kits. Ensure all laboratory personnel are trained in emergency response procedures.
  8. Training and Awareness:
    • Ensure all personnel working with acetaldehyde are properly trained in its hazards, safe handling procedures, and emergency response protocols.
    • Regularly review and update safety protocols and conduct safety audits to identify and mitigate potential risks associated with acetaldehyde handling.

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