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The Aldol Condensation

  1. Arnold T. Nielsen1,
  2. William J. Houlihan2

Published Online: 15 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0471264180.or016.01

Organic Reactions

Organic Reactions

How to Cite

Nielsen, A. T. and Houlihan, W. J. 2011. The Aldol Condensation. Organic Reactions. 16:1:1–438.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Michelson Laboratory, Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California

  2. 2

    Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Hanover, New Jersey

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2011

Chemistry Terms

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The aldol condensation takes its name from aldol (3-hydroxybutanal) a name introduced by Wurtz who first prepared the beta-hydroxy aldehyde from acetaldehdye in 1872. The aldol condensation includes reactions producing beta-hydroxy aldehydes or beta-hydroxy ketones by self condensations or mixed condensations of aldehydes and ketones as well as reactions leading to alpha, beta-unsaturated aldehydes or alpha,beta-unsaturated ketones formed by dehydration of intermediate beta-aldols or beta-ketals. The Claisen-Schmidt condensation is most often taken to be the condensation of an aromatic aldehyde or ketone usually in the presence of a basic catalyst. The term aldol condensation has also been applied to many other condensations involving the reaction of an aldehyde or ketone. These condenations are discussed. The present review includes examples that are solely condensation reactions of aldehydes and ketones.


  • aldol condensation;
  • catalysis;
  • condensation;
  • aldehydes;
  • ketones;
  • intramolecular condensations;
  • stereochemistry;
  • amines;
  • acids;
  • bases;
  • self-condensation;
  • mixed condensation;
  • acyclic ketones;
  • alicyclic ketones;
  • alkyl aryl ketones;
  • dialdehydes;
  • diketones;
  • keto aldehydes