Organic Chemistry is an interesting part of the syllabus taught in the higher classes. It lets the students learn compounds that are based on a carbon structure. One of the basic segments you will study is an aldehyde. The first compound, in this category, is formaldehyde. It contains one carbon atom, two hydrogen atoms, and an oxygen atom. Let us find out more about the formaldehyde formula and the physical and chemical features of this compound in this article.
As mentioned earlier, formaldehyde is the primary compound in the aldehyde group. Let us discuss what aldehyde is first. It is an organic compound that has a functional group (-CHO) in the molecular formula. In this case, the molecular formula of formaldehyde contains this functional group and is termed as the primary one-carbon aldehyde.
Let us find out the chemical formula of this compound elaborately. It is a one-carbon aldehyde that contains the aldehyde group attached to a hydrogen atom. The carbon atom in the aldehyde group is counted as the only carbon atom and the formaldehyde formula is the first member in this compound genre.
Here is the detailed formaldehyde structural formula you should learn and find out why it is considered an aldehyde.
As you can see, the hydrogen atom is linked with the carbon atom in the –CHO group. This is why it is also called methanal as ‘meth’ is the prefix used to denote one carbon organic compound.
If we proceed ahead and find the formaldehyde chemical formula, we will see that the structural formula is not being properly explained. When the carbon bonds are properly shown in the structure, you can then understand how the aldehyde group is bonded with the hydrogen atom. The chemical formula of formaldehyde is CH2O. In the advanced chapters in organic chemistry, you will find out that the structural formula helps to elaborate on the chemical features of an organic compound.
Now that we know the methanal formula, let’s find out the structural formula of this compound. If you look very carefully, you will find that there is only one bond left to be occupied in the carbon atom present in the functional group. As it is the primary compound in this genre, it has a hydrogen atom attached to this bond. The formaldehyde structural formula also shows that the compound has a planar trigonal geometry with sp2 hybridization.
Learn the formula of formaldehyde in different forms to understand how the functional group and the number of carbon atoms decide the name of the aldehydes.
Q1. What is the Simplest Aldehyde Compound?
The simplest compound in an organic compound genre is decided by the number of carbon atoms present in the chemical formula. As we can conclude, the number of carbon atoms in the simplest organic compound of a particular genre is one. Hence, the simplest aldehyde is formaldehyde. The formaldehyde chemical formula is H-CHO.
Q2. Why Formaldehyde is Called Methanal?
The prefix ‘meth’ is used for denoting that the organic compound contains one carbon atom. The suffix ‘al’ shows that the compound contains the functional group ‘aldehyde’. Hence, formaldehyde is called methanal. The molecular formula of formaldehyde will also show that there is only one carbon atom in the form of the aldehyde functional group.
Q3. What are the Other Aldehyde Compounds?
When you increase the number of carbon atoms, you will find simpler aldehydes belonging to this genre. For instance, ethanaldehyde (CH₃CHO) and propanaldehyde (CH₃CH₂CHO) are prime examples.