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TLDR: Aldehydes are organic compounds that have a specific structure called a formyl group. They are important in technology and biology.

Aldehydes are a type of organic compound that contain a functional group called a formyl group. This formyl group has a specific structure, R−CH=O, where R represents a side chain. Aldehydes are commonly found in many chemicals that are important in technology and biology. They have diverse properties that depend on the rest of the molecule. Smaller aldehydes are more soluble in water and some have pungent odors.

The structure of aldehyde molecules consists of a central carbon atom that is connected to oxygen by a double bond, and also has a single bond to hydrogen and another single bond to a third substituent, which can be carbon or hydrogen. The central carbon is often described as being sp2-hybridized. The aldehyde group is somewhat polar, and the C=O bond length is about 120-122 picometers.

Aldehydes can be identified by spectroscopic methods such as infrared spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. They have characteristic absorption bands in their spectra that can be used to identify them. Aldehydes are also important in many applications and can be found in various compounds such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, and glucose. They are also naturally occurring in essential oils and contribute to their favorable odors.

There are several methods for synthesizing aldehydes, with the most common one being hydroformylation. This method involves the reaction of an alkene with carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst. Aldehydes can also be produced by oxidative routes, such as alcohol oxidation or the Wacker process. Specialty methods, such as ozonolysis or the Wittig reaction, can also be used to synthesize aldehydes.

Aldehydes participate in many reactions, including acid-base reactions, enolization, reduction, oxidation, and nucleophilic addition reactions. These reactions allow aldehydes to undergo various transformations and form different compounds. For example, aldehydes can be reduced to alcohols or oxidized to carboxylic acids. They can also react with nucleophiles, such as oxygen, nitrogen, or carbon nucleophiles, to form different products.

Dialdehydes are organic compounds that have two aldehyde groups. They are named based on the longest carbon chain containing the aldehyde group, and the suffix -dial or -dialdehyde is added to the name. Some examples of dialdehydes include glyoxal, malondialdehyde, and succindialdehyde.

Aldehydes have various uses in industry, such as in the production of resins, plasticizers, and polyurethanes. They are also used in the production of flavors and perfumes. Formaldehyde is the most commonly produced aldehyde, followed by butyraldehyde. Other aldehydes, such as acetaldehyde and benzaldehyde, are used as ingredients in flavors and perfumes.

In biochemistry, aldehydes are substrates for aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes, which metabolize aldehydes in the body. Some aldehydes have toxicities that are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Overall, aldehydes are important organic compounds that have diverse properties and play a significant role in various applications and biological processes.

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