Formic acid, HCOOH, also known as methanoic acid, is the simplest member of the carboxylic acids, RCOOH (where R = H, or any alkyl group). It is a pungent liquid which in its natural occurrence is largely responsible both for the sting in stinging nettles and in ants.
Formic acid is a stronger acid than any other member of the unsubstituted carboxylic acid series, and forms salts, called formates, which (except for those of lead and silver) are readily soluble in water.
Concentrated sulfuric acid dehydrates formic acid to give carbon monoxide.
- HCOOH - H2O → CO