Molecule of the Week

Maleic anhydride

February 23, 2009

Maleic anhydride is perhaps best known as the quintessential dienophile in the Diels–Alder cycloaddition reaction, but it is also used as a ligand in metal complexes and as a feedstock for maleic acid and its half-esters. It was first synthesized from the acid by R. Kempf in 1908. Until recently, commercial production used benzene as the feedstock; but for health and safety reasons, newer plants use butane.

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