acetaldehyde ăs˝ĭtăl´dəhīd [key] or ethanal ĕth´ənăl˝ [key], CH 3CHO, colorless liquid aldehyde , sometimes simply called aldehyde. It melts at −123°C, boils at 20.8°C, and is soluble in water and ethanol. It is formed by the partial oxidation of ethanol oxidation of acetaldehyde forms acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is made commercially by the oxidation of ethylene with a palladium catalyst (see Wacker process ). It is used as a reducing agent (e.g., for silvering mirrors), in the manufacture of synthetic resins and dyestuffs, and as a preservative. When treated with a small amount of sulfuric acid it forms paraldehyde, (CH 3CHO) 3, a trimer, which is used as a hypnotic drug.

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