Maleic anhydride

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A reactive, white solid compound that is used in the manufacture of polyester and alkyd resins. Maleic anhydride has needle-like crystals that dissolve readily in water to form Maleic acid. It is also used in finishing processes for Paper and Permanent press textiles. Maleic acid is also used in alkyd resins to increase hardness and decrease yellowing in baking enamels (Brady 1971).

Synonyms and Related Terms

2,5-furandione; cis-butenedioic anhydride;


  • Corrosive. May cause burns.
  • Combustible. Flash point = 102 C
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Dissolves in water to form maleic acid. Soluble in acetone, ethanol and dioxane. Slightly soluble in chloroform, benzene and toluene.

Composition C4H2O3
CAS 108-31-6
Melting Point 52.8 C
Density 1.48 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 98.06
Boiling Point 202 C

Resources and Citations

  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • The Merck Index, Susan Budavari (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Whitehouse Station, NJ, 12th Edition, 1996 Comment: entry 5744
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 605
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993