noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A crystalline compound made by oxidizing naphthalene, used as an intermediate in the manufacture of plastics, resins, and dyes.
- In one method, naphthalene is oxidized with vanadium pentoxide to give phthalic anhydride.
- Alkyd resins are produced by the curing reaction of a material like phthalic anhydride with glycerol in the presence of a fatty acid.
- Succinic anhydride has almost the same rate constant as acetic, while maleic anhydride reacts 10 times as quickly and phthalic anhydride four times.
Mid 19th century: phthalic, shortening of naphthalic (see naphthalene).
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