With the intention of taking up pharmacy he entered Heidelberg University about 1835, and after graduating went to Giessen as preparateur to Liebig, with whom he elucidated the composition of paraldehyde and metaldehyde.
It is readily polymerized, small quantities of hydrochloric acid, zinc chloride, carbonyl chloride, &c. converting it, at ordinary temperatures, into paraldehyde, (C 2 H 4 0) 3, a liquid boiling at 124° C. and of specific gravity oï¿½998 (15° C.).
Paraldehyde is moderately soluble in water, and when distilled with sulphuric acid is reconverted into the ordinary form.
Paraldehyde is oxidized by dilute nitric acid, with formation of much glyoxal, (CHO) 2.
Crotonic acid, so named from the fact that it was erroneously supposed to be a saponification product of croton oil, may be prepared by the oxidation of croton-aldehyde, CH3 CH:CH CHO, obtained by dehydrating aldol, or by treating acetylene successively with sulphuric acid and water; by boiling allyl cyanide with caustic potash; by the distillation of 0-oxybutyric acid; by heating paraldehyde with malonic acid and acetic acid to, oo C. (T.