Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound with the formula CH2O (H-CHO). It is the simplest of the aldehydes (R-CHO) and is also known by its systematic name methanal. The common name of this substance comes from its similarity and relation to formic acid.

Formaldehyde is an important precursor to many other materials and chemical compounds. In 1996, the installed capacity for the production of formaldehyde was estimated to be 8.7 million tons per year. It is mainly used in the production of industrial resins, e.g., for particle board and coatings.

Parameter Value

Chemical formula


Molar mass

30.03 g·mol−1


Colorless gas


0.8153 g/cm3 (−20 °C)

Melting point

−92 °C (−134 °F; 181 K)

Boiling point

−19 °C (−2 °F; 254 K)

Solubility in water

400 g dm−3

log P


Vapor pressure

< 1 atm

Acidity (pKa)


Magnetic susceptibility (χ)

-18.6·10−6 cm3/mol

Dipole moment

2.33 D

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