Pyridinium chlorochromate (PCC) in $\ce{CH2Cl2}$ can be used to oxidise primary alcohols only to aldehydes. I can't however, find any reference of it oxidising methanol (which is strictly speaking not a primary alcohol). My question is, does PCC oxidise methanol to formaldehyde and if not, what can I use to achieve this reaction?

  • $\begingroup$ My textbooks don't spend much time on reactions with methyl derivatives and I'm struggling to find brief discussions of 'methyl chemistry' that isn't on a higher level. $\endgroup$
    – Venter
    May 17, 2018 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ www.chem.libretexts.org/Textbook_Maps/Organic_Chemistry_Textbook_Maps/Map%3A_Organic_Chemistry_(Smith)/Chapter_12%3A_Oxidation_and_Reduction/12.07_Oxidizing_Agents $\endgroup$
    – Soham
    May 17, 2018 at 19:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes it can. Why would you want to do this? $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    May 17, 2018 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


Look at the examples given here:

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(Ignore the stuff written with pen; I have a habit of taking notes when reading)

PCC is taking two hydrogen atoms – one from the carbon atom attached to the -OH group and the other one from the -OH group itself, and then making a C=O double bond. Methanol has both of these. So, PCC should be able to oxidise it to formaldehyde.


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