Maleic anhydride is an industrial intermediate that plays a major role in chemistry. Above all, the chemical is indispensable in the manufacture and production of, for example, polyester resins, chemical plasticisers or even raw materials for paints. But the areas of application for the chemical substance do not end there. Maleic acid hydride is also used in the production of medicines, pesticides, dyes and tanning agents. But what does this corrosive substance actually consist of? What makes it interesting for us and where is it indispensable? We will answer all these questions for you in this comprehensive article.
Maleic hydride: The most important properties of this chemical
Maleic anhydride is a very important intermediate in many chemical processes. But the chemical also has fundamentally interesting properties. It converts to gas very quickly – this transition from solid to gas already takes place at room temperature. In general, however, the substance is solid and white, but the forms in which it occurs differ. Maleic acid hydride can occur in the form of a white, crystalline powder, needle-shaped or lumpy. All these states are typical for the chemical. Another distinctive feature is the pungent odour, which is very typical for this substance. Although the substance changes its form at room temperature and goes into the gaseous state, it can actually also be transported and used in trade as a melt at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius. However, the greatest caution must always be exercised in this process. This is because maleic acid hydride already toxically contaminates the air at 20 degrees. In order to prevent reactions such as irritation of the skin, mucous membranes and eyes, it is therefore imperative to ensure that the correct temperature is maintained.
Another property that is also important is the solubility of the substance. This chemical is soluble not only in water, but also in numerous other solvents – whereby maleic acid is formed. And as is relatively typical for an unsaturated substance, maleic anhydride undergoes easy reactions of addition to the double bond.
But what is maleic anhydride needed for in our industry? The chemical intermediate is actually used in many different industrial areas, which differ from each other. Especially typical and frequent is its use in the production of unsaturated polyester. In the same way, the synthesis of growth regulators, pesticides, surfactants, insecticides and also herbicides is a classic field of application for this substance. But the chemical is also frequently used in the production of various lubricants or adhesives with a particularly strong adhesive effect.