furfural

furfural (fûrˈfərəl) [key] or furfuraldehyde fûrˌfərălˈdəhĪd [Lat., = bran], C4H3OCHO, viscous, colorless liquid that has a pleasant aromatic odor; upon exposure to air it turns dark brown or black. It boils at about 160°C. It is commonly used as a solvent; it is soluble in ethanol and ether and somewhat soluble in water. Furfural is the aldehyde of pyromucic acid; it has properties similar to those of benzaldehyde. A derivative of furan, it is prepared commercially by dehydration of pentose sugars obtained from cornstalks and corncobs, husks of oat and peanut, and other waste products. It is used in the manufacture of pesticides, phenolfurfural resins, and tetrahydrofuran. Tetrahydrofuran is used as a commercial solvent and is converted in starting materials for the preparation of nylon.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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