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maleic anhydride

Product name maleic anhydride
Synonyms cis-ethylene-1,3-dicarboxylic acid anhydride
GOST 11153-75
CAS 108-31-6

Maleic anhydride is a colorless crystalline compound with a pungent odor. It is boundedly soluble in acetone, benzene, toluene, chloroform, o-xylene, ethyl acetate, dioxane; hydrolyzing by water up to maleic acid. Reacts with alcohols to form mono- and diesters. Maleic anhydride acts as a potential dienophile in Diels-Alder reactions.


Maleic anhydride is industrially prepared:

  • by vapour phase oxidation of n-butane with oxygen of air in the presence of fixed or fluidized vanadium-phosphorus oxide catalyst. This method is more commercially sound than benzene route. :

    CH3CH2CH2CH3 + 3.5O2 --> C2H2(CO)2O + 4H2O

  • by vapour phase oxidation of benzene with air in the presence of fixed vanadium-molibdenum oxide catalyst;


    Maleic anhydride is used:

  • mainly in production of unsaturated polyester resins for use in fiber-reinforced plastics in the automotive, construction, marine, consumer goods and agricultural industries;
  • to make maleic, fumaric and malic acids;
  • to produce agrocultural chemicals - plant growth regulators (i.e. maleic acid hydrazide), defoliants, fungicides, pesticides, insecticides;
  • as a modifier for alkyd resins;
  • as lubricating oil additives;
  • as a feedstock to make a number of chemicals - tetrahydrofurane (THF), tetrahydrophthalic anhydride, gammabutyrolactone (GBL) and others;

  • Manufacturer(s) Organic synthesis plant
    Chemical structure of maleic anhydride

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