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Formamide vs. Formaldehyde: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sara Rehman || By Sumera Saeed || Published on January 27, 2024
Formamide is a clear liquid used in organic synthesis and as a solvent, while formaldehyde is a colorless gas used as a disinfectant and preservative.

Key Differences

Formamide, with the formula HCONH2, is an amide derived from formic acid, featuring a combination of a carbonyl group and an amine group. In contrast, formaldehyde, having the formula CH2O, is the simplest aldehyde, characterized by a carbon atom double-bonded to oxygen and single-bonded to hydrogen.
Sara Rehman
Jan 27, 2024
Formamide appears as a clear, odorless liquid at room temperature and is miscible with water. Formaldehyde, however, is a colorless gas with a pungent, irritating odor, and is often found in an aqueous solution known as formalin.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024
Formamide serves as a solvent in pharmaceuticals and is used in the synthesis of other chemicals. Formaldehyde is widely used as a disinfectant, preservative, and in the production of resins and plastics.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024
Exposure to formamide can cause skin and eye irritation, and it is potentially hazardous if ingested. Formaldehyde is more dangerous, being toxic, carcinogenic, and can cause severe respiratory and skin irritation.
Harlon Moss
Jan 27, 2024
Formamide is biodegradable and poses less threat to the environment. Formaldehyde, however, is a significant indoor air pollutant and poses environmental hazards due to its toxicity and volatility.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 27, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula

HCONH2
CH2O
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

State at Room Temp.

Liquid
Gas (often in solution)
Sara Rehman
Jan 27, 2024

Odor

Odorless
Pungent, irritating
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

Main Uses

Solvent, chemical synthesis
Disinfectant, preservative, resin production
Harlon Moss
Jan 27, 2024

Toxicity

Moderate
High (carcinogenic)
Janet White
Jan 27, 2024
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Formamide and Formaldehyde Definitions

Formamide

Synthesis Intermediate.
In organic synthesis, formamide is an intermediate in various reactions.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Formaldehyde

Chemical Synthesis.
Formaldehyde is involved in the synthesis of various organic compounds.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Formamide

Solvent.
Formamide is used as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Formaldehyde

Building Material Additive.
Formaldehyde is added to building materials for its preservative qualities.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Formamide

Industrial Chemical.
Industrially, formamide is utilized in the production of various chemicals.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 20, 2023

Formaldehyde

Preservative.
Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative in biological laboratories.
Sara Rehman
Dec 20, 2023

Formamide

Electrophoresis Medium.
In electrophoresis, formamide helps in analyzing nucleic acids.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Formaldehyde

Disinfectant.
As a disinfectant, formaldehyde sterilizes surgical instruments.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Formamide

DNA/RNA Denaturant.
For molecular biology procedures, formamide denatures DNA and RNA.
Harlon Moss
Dec 20, 2023

Formaldehyde

Resin Component.
In the manufacture of resins, formaldehyde is a key component.
Janet White
Dec 20, 2023

Formamide

(organic compound) The amide of formic acid HCO-NH2 or any N-substituted derivative; they are used in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Formaldehyde

A pungent colorless flammable gaseous compound, CH2O, the simplest and most reactive aldehyde, used for manufacturing melamine and phenolic resins, fertilizers, dyes, and embalming fluids and in aqueous solution as a preservative and disinfectant.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Formaldehyde

(organic compound) The simplest aldehyde, HCHO, a colourless gas that has many industrial applications; it dissolves in water to give formol (10%) and formalin.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Formaldehyde

A colorless, volatile liquid, H2CO, resembling acetic or ethyl aldehyde, and chemically intermediate between methyl alcohol and formic acid.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

Formaldehyde

A colorless poisonous gas; made by the oxidation of methanol
Sumera Saeed
Dec 19, 2023

FAQs

What is formamide?

A clear, odorless liquid used in organic synthesis and as a solvent.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

Can formamide be mixed with water?

Yes, it is miscible with water.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

Is formamide toxic?

It can be hazardous if ingested and cause skin and eye irritation.
Sara Rehman
Jan 27, 2024

What are the uses of formamide?

Used as a solvent in pharmaceuticals and in chemical synthesis.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

How is formaldehyde commonly found?

Often in an aqueous solution known as formalin.
Harlon Moss
Jan 27, 2024

Is formamide biodegradable?

Yes, it poses less threat to the environment.
Harlon Moss
Jan 27, 2024

Can formaldehyde be found in homes?

Yes, in building materials and household products.
Harlon Moss
Jan 27, 2024

What are the dangers of formaldehyde?

It is toxic, carcinogenic, and causes respiratory and skin irritation.
Harlon Moss
Jan 27, 2024

Where is formaldehyde used?

In disinfectants, preservatives, and resin production.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

Is formaldehyde used in textiles?

Yes, in the treatment and finishing of fabrics.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 27, 2024

Is formamide used in DNA research?

Yes, as a denaturant in molecular biology.
Janet White
Jan 27, 2024

What precautions are necessary when handling formamide?

Use protective gear and proper ventilation.
Janet White
Jan 27, 2024

What is formaldehyde?

A colorless gas used as a disinfectant and preservative.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

Are there alternatives to formaldehyde?

Safer chemicals are available but may not be as effective.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

How is formamide disposed of?

By following safety guidelines for hazardous chemicals.
Harlon Moss
Jan 27, 2024

How can exposure to formaldehyde be minimized?

Through adequate ventilation and using formaldehyde-free products.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

Is formaldehyde an environmental pollutant?

Yes, it's a significant indoor air pollutant.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 27, 2024

How does formamide affect health?

Can cause irritation and is potentially toxic if ingested.
Janet White
Jan 27, 2024

Is formamide a natural compound?

It is synthetically produced for industrial use.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024

What industries rely heavily on formaldehyde?

The building, textile, and plastics industries.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 27, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.

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