benzaldehyde (bĕnzălˈdəhĪd) [key] or benzenecarbonal bĕnˌzēnkärˈbənəl, C6H5CHO, colorless liquid aldehyde with a characteristic almond odor. It boils at 180°C, is soluble in ethanol, but is insoluble in water. It is formed by partial oxidation of benzyl alcohol, and on oxidation forms benzoic acid. It is called oil of bitter almond, since it is formed when amygdalin, a glucoside present in the kernels of bitter almonds and in apricot pits, is hydrolyzed, e.g., by crushing the kernels or pits and boiling them in water; glucose and hydrogen cyanide (a poisonous gas) are also formed. It is also prepared by oxidation of toluene or benzyl chloride or by treating benzal chloride with an alkali, e.g., sodium hydroxide. Benzaldehyde is used in the preparation of certain aniline dyes and of other products, including perfumes and flavorings.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on benzaldehyde from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Organic Chemistry