TCC’s Maleic Anhydride is an organic compound with the formula C2H2(CO)2O. It is the acid anhydride of maleic acid and in its pure state is a colorless or white solid with an acrid odor.
Maleic anhydride was traditionally manufactured by the oxidation of benzene or other aromatic compounds. As of 2006, only a few smaller plants continue to use benzene; due to rising benzene prices, most maleic anhydride plants now use n-butane as a feedstock.
The chemistry of maleic anhydride is very rich, reflecting its ready availability and bifunctional reactivity. It hydrolyzes, producing maleic acid, cis-HOOC–CH=CH–COOH. With alcohols such as methanol, the half-ester is generated, e.g., cis-HOOC–CH=CH–COOCH3.
Maleic anhydride is a potent dienophile in Diels-Alder reactions. It is also a ligand for low-valent metal complexes, examples being Pt(PPh3)2(MA) and Fe(CO)4(MA).
Maleic anhydride dimerizes in a photochemical reaction to form cyclobutane tetracarboxylic dianhydride (CBTA). The compound is used in the production of polyimides and as an alignment film for liquid crystal displays.