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23 Uses of Aldehydes

Aldehydes are organic compounds with a terminal carbon. They are categorized under compounds containing CHO, as these are their major components. Aldehydes are formed through the dehydrogenation of alcohol through a chemical reaction that removes the hydrogen molecule from the oxygen. The reaction then creates a double bond with the carbon. Most of the time, Aldehydes are used to synthesize other compounds in industries. Aldehydes are widely applied in various processes, some of which are common in many industries. There are four main types of Aldehydes that are known. The Formaldehyde which is composed of the carbon molecule, oxygen and carbon, the Acrolein, Acetaldehyde, and the Benzaldehyde. In their different forms, these types of Aldehydes individually have their uses which are beneficial to both the industry and society.


This type of Aldehyde is used extensively in the industrial sectors. Some of its uses include;

1. Preservative

Formalin is used in preserving biological as well as an anatomical specimen. This is commonly used in large scientific facilities in the preservation of the specimen. It is also used to sterilize surgical equipment.

2. Treatment of diseases

Cinnamaldehyde has been used over the centuries to treat disorders such as a common cold. Research has it that Cinnamaldehyde is a natural medicinal compound that clear common cold and also treats diarrhea. Cinnamaldehyde also helps in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Aldehyde Formalin is also used as a treatment for ovine footrot when it is diluted to 10%.

3. Making polymeric products

Have you ever grown curios as to why polymeric products such as germicides, insecticides, and fungicides are used to keep away germs, insects, and fungi? It is because of the Formaldehyde component that is used to make these products.

4. Disinfectant

Formalin is used as an antiseptic due to its strong components that react to purify water. Formalin also hardens tissues.

5. Embalming

Formaldehyde is used to treat human corpses to delay their decomposition. The formaldehyde in this process is done through mixing chemicals such as formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol, and other solvents in a process known as embalming.


6. Manufacture of Plastic, adhesive, and Polish

Acrolein is used to make acrylic acid that is used to make plastics, adhesives, and floor polish and paints.

7. Making paper

Acrolein is an essential element in the papermaking process as it controls the slime of the paper.

8. Bacterial Removal

This Aldehyde kills bacteria that are present in oil wells and cooling water towers.

9. Super Absorbent Polymers

The acrolein aldehyde is used to create absorbent polymers that are used to make diapers, sanitary towels, and absorbing materials that are used in agriculture.

10. Pesticide and Microbicide

Plants such as Hyacinth and weeds tend to clog the waterways making navigation difficult. The acrolein is used to clear the water and prevent the growth of these plants.

11. Chemical weapon manufacture

During world war 1, most of the chemical weapons that were used had been made by Acrolein. This explains their explosive nature and the hazardous impact they left behind.

12. Cosmetic products

Have you ever wondered why nail polishes are shiny and clear, creating a beautiful picture when applied? It is because of the Acrolein component found in them that makes these polishes appealing to the eye and gives it a soft texture. It is also used in making glue.


13. Acetic acid Manufacture

The acetic acid is used to purify organic compounds, and it is also used as a solvent for recrystallization.

14. Carbohydrates metabolism

This type of Aldehydes facilitates easy metabolism of carbohydrates in the human body. It does this by providing a medium of interchange of the carbon atoms found in proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids in the body.

15. Perfumes Production

Have you ever had a morning where your nose is so dry due to too much inhalation of perfumes? Well, it is because of the acetaldehyde component that was used to produce the perfume. It has strong components that give the perfumes concentrated smells. It is also used in the production of dyes.

16. Preservative

Acetaldehyde is used in the preservation of fruits and fish and a flavoring agent.

17. Making alcohol

It is an intermediate in the process of alcohol metabolism. The acetaldehyde has a narcotic action and corrodes the mucous membrane when consumed in large amounts.


18. Flavoring agent

This Aldehyde Benzaldehyde occurs naturally as a flavoring agent and produces the flavor and scent of fresh almonds. Cinnamaldehyde is yet another Aldehyde under Benzaldehyde that is used as a flavoring agent. Have you ever wondered why snacks like crisps have a variety of flavors? Well, it is because of the Aldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, which gives crisps and other snacks a sweet cinnamon taste.

19. Tire and Rubber Manufacturing

In the process of manufacturing rubber, products whose components include benzene are suitable solvents.

20. Printing/ Painting

Given that benzene is contained in the base and topcoat paints, it is used in many printing industries for cleaning as well as to maintain the printing equipment.

21. Chemicals/Plastics

Benzyne is used to make plastic substances as well as synthetic products like nylon. Most of the plastic industries use benzene in a variety of activities, including making detergents.

22. Petroleum/Oil/Asphalt

The Aldehyde is used to produce petroleum products such as gasoline. It is also used to produce asphalt that is used by roofing companies.

23. Auto Repairs

It is highly used in repair and cleaning industries since the benzene in these solvents dissolves grease that accumulates on the walls and does not corrode the metal. It is also used in the formation of lubricating fluids.

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