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Important Properties and Uses of Mannitol and Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH2O. Mannitol is a sugar alcohol which is used as a sugar substitute and also as a type of medication. Some important properties and uses of mannitol and formaldehyde are provided in this article.


Methanal is the systematic name assigned to formaldehyde by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (abbreviation: IUPAC). Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring aldehyde which consists of a hydrogen atom attached to the aldehyde functional group (the CHO group). Therefore, the chemical formula of formaldehyde can also be written as H-CHO. Some important properties of formaldehyde are listed below.

  • The molar mass of formaldehyde is equal to 30.026 grams per mole.
  • Under standard conditions for temperature and pressure (often abbreviated to STP), formaldehyde exists as a colourless gas.
  • The density of this compound corresponds to 0.8153 grams per cubic centimetre (at a temperature of -20 degrees centigrade).
  • The melting point of formaldehyde corresponds to 181 K.
  • The boiling point of this compound is equal to 254 K. therefore, this compound remains in the gaseous state even at 0 degrees centigrade.
  • The solubility of this compound in water corresponds to 400 grams per litre.

Uses of Formaldehyde

Some key uses of formaldehyde are listed below.

  • Aqueous solutions of formaldehyde have the ability to kill several fungi and bacteria. Therefore, aqueous solutions of this compound can be used as a disinfectant.
  • Formaldehyde can also be used to preserve cells and fix tissue cells.
  • This compound is an integral component of the Marquis reagent, which is widely used in the identification of alkaloids.
  • Another important application of formaldehyde is in the photography industry, where it is used (in relatively low concentrations) in the final wash step of the C-41 process.


Mannitol is classified as a sugar alcohol. It is widely used in order to sweeten food for diabetic patients. However, the consumption of this compound is often accompanied by dehydration. Some important properties of mannitol are listed below.

  • The chemical formula of mannitol is C6H14O6.
  • The molar mass of this compound corresponds to 182.172 grams per mole.
  • This compound can be classified as an isomer of sorbitol.

Uses of Mannitol

Some important uses of mannitol are listed below.

  • Mannitol can be administered in order to reduce or treat acutely raised intracranial pressure. This compound is known to be used as a form of preliminary treatment in cases of head trauma.
  • This compound is also used as medication in the treatment of kidney failure.
  • Mannitol is very helpful in the elimination of certain toxins in the body.
  • This compound can also be used to reduce the pressure in the eye.
  • Another important application of this compound is in the treatment of acute glaucoma.

Thus, mannitol and formaldehyde are very important organic compounds. Both these compounds have a wide range of applications that span over several industries.

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