NMR studies of the equilibria and reaction rates in aqueous solutions of formaldehyde

Michal Rivlin, Uzi Eliav, Gil Navon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Formaldehyde has an important role in the chemical industry and in biological sciences. In dilute aqueous solutions of formaldehyde only traces of the molecular formaldehyde are present and the predominant species are methylene glycol and in lower concentrations, dimethylene glycol. The chemical equilibria and reaction rates of the hydration of formaldehyde in H2O and D2O solutions at low concentrations were studied by 1H and 13C NMR at various conditions of pH (1.8-7.8) and temperature (278-333 K). These measurements became possible by direct detection of formaldehyde 13C and 1H peaks. The equilibrium and rate constants of the dimerization reaction of methylene glycol were also measured. The rate constants for both the hydration and the dimerization reactions were measured by a new version of the conventional selective inversion transfer method. This study, together with previous published work, completes the description of dynamics and equilibria of all the processes occurring in dilute aqueous formaldehyde solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4479-4487
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number12
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2015


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