Anthracene

June 08, 2020
My versatility ranges from dyestuffs to electronics.
What molecule am I?

Anthracene is one of the smaller polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. (The only smaller one is naphthalene.) It was isolated from coal tar in 1832 by pioneering French chemists Jean-Baptiste Dumas and Auguste Laurent.

Anthracene can be synthesized by the Elbs reaction, in which o-tolyl phenyl ketone is dehydrated at 400–450 ºC. But most commercial anthracene is still recovered from coal tar.

In commerce, anthracene is mainly used as a starting material for the manufacture of 9,10-anthraquinone, which in turn is used to make colorants such as the red dye alizarin. More recently, crystalline anthracene was found to be a useful wide band-gap semiconductor in devices such as organic field-effect transistors and scintillators for detecting high-energy subatomic particles. 

Anthracene hazard information*

Hazard class** Hazard statement
Acute toxicity, dermal, category 4 H312—Harmful in contact with skin Chemical Safety Warning
Skin corrosion/irritation, category 2 H315—Causes skin irritation Chemical Safety Warning
Serious eye damage/eye irritation, category 2A  H319—Causes serious eye irritation Chemical Safety Warning
Specific target organ toxicity, single exposure, respiratory tract irritation, category 3 H335—May cause respiratory irritation Chemical Safety Warning
Carcinogenicity, category 1A H350—May cause cancer Chemical Safety Warning
Hazardous to the aquatic environment, acute hazard, category 1 H400—Very toxic to aquatic life Chemical Safety Warning
Hazardous to the aquatic environment, long-term hazard, category 1 H410—Very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects Chemical Safety Warning

*Combined from multiple safety data sheets.
**Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Explanation of pictograms.

Anthracene fast facts

CAS Reg. No. 120-12-7
SciFinder
nomenclature
Anthracene
Empirical formula C14H10
Molar mass 178.23 g/mol
Appearance White crystals or powder
Melting point 218 ºC
Water solubility 44 μg/L
Chemical Abstract Service - a division of ACS

Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.

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