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Physical & Chemical properties

Solubility in organic solvents / fat solubility

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Description of key information

Formaldehyde is soluble in alcohol and ether.
Aqueous formaldehyde solutions are miscible in alcohol and acetone.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

Solubility of pure formaldehyde in organic solvents

Four sources were identified concerning the solubility of formaldehyde in organic solvents. According to The Merck Index (2013) formaldehyde is soluble in alcohol and ether. This is supported by the CRC (2010) handbook, and Hawley’s dictionary (2002). According to the CRC formaldehyde is besides alcohol and ether also miscible in acetone and benzene. In addition to the CRC, according to the Ullmanns encyclopedia (2012), formaldehyde is also miscible in all proportions with nonpolar solvents such as toluene, ether, chloroform, or ethyl acetate. However, this is at low temperatures (liquid formaldehyde).  Solubility decreases with increasing temperature and at room temperature polymerization and volatilization occur, leaving only a small amount of dissolved gas. Based on these data, it is concluded that the formaldehyde is soluble in alcohol and ether.

Solubility of aqueous formaldehyde solutions in organic solvents

Two sources were identified concerning the solubility of aqueous formaldehyde solutions in in organic solvents. According to the Merck Index (2013) the aqueous formaldehyde solutions, usually containing ca. 37% (wt) of formaldehyde often with 10 -15% methanol, are miscible in alcohol and acetone. According to a supportive publication from the EPA (2008) an aqueous formaldehyde solution is also soluble in benzene. Since the reliability of the EPA publication could not be verified the solubility of aqueous formaldehyde solutions in organic solvents is determined to be miscible with alcohol and acetone.