Formaldehyde was discovered in 1867 by the German chemist August Wilhem von Hofman, but he never isolated pure formaldehyde during his lifetime. It wasn't until 1892, the year of Hofman's death, that another famous German chemist, Friedrich August Kekule' von Stradonitz, isolated pure formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is the simplest aldehyde. It is manufactured by oxidizing methanol with air over a metal catalyst in a temperature range of 400-650 degrees Celsius. The catalyst can be copper, silver, or molybdeum alloy.

Formaldehyde has caused cancer in laboratory animals. It may cause cancer in humans. Risk of cancer will depend on exposure levels and duration as well as sensitivity.

More about Formaldehyde

Physical properties

Where is it ? Everywhere!

Water and formaldehyde; Formalin


Bakelite, formaldehyde based resins

Fabrics, paper and wood products

Energy minimized bond lengths and angles

References and links

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