Propionaldehyde or propanal is the organic compound with the formula CH3CH2CHO. It is a saturated 3-carbon aldehyde and is a structural isomer of acetone. It is a colorless liquid with a slightly irritating, fruity odor.
It is principally used as a precursor to trimethylolethane (CH3C(CH2OH)3) through a condensation reaction with formaldehyde; this triol is an important intermediate in the production of alkyd resins. Other applications include reduction to propanol and oxidation to propionic acid.
Condensation of propionaldehyde with tert-butylamine gives CH3CH2CH=N-t-Bu, a three-carbon building block used in organic synthesis. Deprotonation of this imine with LDA produces CH3CHLiCH=N-t-Bu, which in turn condenses with aldehydes.