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Propionaldehyde or propanal is the organic compound with the formula CH3CH2CHO. It is a saturate 3-carbon aldehyde and is a structural isomer of acetone. It is a colourless liquid with a slightly irritating, fruity odour.

Propionaldehyde is mainly produced through the hydroformylation, by combining synthesis gas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen) with ethylene using a metal catalyst:

CO + H2 + C2H4 → CH3CH2CHO


It is principally used as a precursor to "trimethylolethane" (CH3C(CH2OH)3) through a condensation reaction with methanol; this triol is an important intermediate in the production of alkyd resins.

Condensation of propionaldehyde with tert-butylamine gives CH3CH2CH=N-t-Bu, a three-carbon building block used in organic synthesis. Deprotonation of this imine with LDA produces CH3CHLiCH=N-t-Bu, which in turn condenses with aldehydes.


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