June 08, 2020
My versatility ranges from dyestuffs to electronics.
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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 4H312—Harmful in contact with skinChemical Safety Warning
Skin corrosion/irritation, category 2H315—Causes skin irritationChemical Safety Warning
Serious eye damage/eye irritation, category 2A H319—Causes serious eye irritationChemical Safety Warning
Specific target organ toxicity, single exposure, respiratory tract irritation, category 3H335—May cause respiratory irritationChemical Safety Warning
Carcinogenicity, category 1AH350—May cause cancerChemical Safety Warning
Hazardous to the aquatic environment, acute hazard, category 1H400—Very toxic to aquatic lifeChemical Safety Warning
Hazardous to the aquatic environment, long-term hazard, category 1H410—Very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effectsChemical 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
Empirical formulaC14H10
Molar mass178.23 g/mol
AppearanceWhite crystals or powder
Melting point218 ºC
Water solubility44 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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