Phthalic anhydride is a toxic, white crystalline compound used in the manufacture of phthaleins and other dyes, resins, plasticizers, and insecticides.
Phthalic anhydride is the anhydride of phthalic acid. This colorless solid is an important industrial chemical, especially for the large–scale production of plasticizers for plastics. It is presently obtained by catalytic oxidation of ortho–xylene or naphthalene. Phthalic anhydride can also be prepared from phthalic acid.
Phthalic anhydride is a versatile intermediate in organic chemistry, in part because it is bifunctional and readily available. The primary use of phthalic anhydride (PA) is as a chemical intermediate in the production of plasticizers from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The primary use of phthalic anhydride (PA) is as a chemical intermediate in the production of plastics from vinyl chloride. Phthalate esters that function as plasticizers are derived from phthalic anhydride. Phthalic anhydride has another major use in the production of polyester resins and other minor uses in the production of alkyd resins used in paints and lacquers, certain guys, insect repellents, and urethane polyester polyols.
Phthalic anhydride has also been used as a rubber scorch inhibitor and retarder.
The second largest outlet for PA is in unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) which are usually blended with glass fibers to produce fiberglass-reinforced plastics. Principal markets are construction, marine and transportation.
The third largest outlet is PA-based alkyd resins that are used in solvent-based coatings for architectural, machinery, furniture and fixture applications.
Small volume uses for PA include the manufacture of dyes and pigments, detergents, herbicides and insecticides, fire retardants, saccharin and polyester resin cross-linking agents.
Phthalic anhydride (PA) is a white solid crystalline compound in various forms or a clear molten liquid, with an irritating odor. It is slightly soluble in hot water, hydrolysing to Phthalic Acid. PA is soluble in alcohol and carbon disulphide. It reacts with strong oxidants and responds violently when heated with copper oxide or sodium nitrite, to cause an explosion hazard.
Phthalic anhydride is presently obtained by catalytic oxidation of ortho–xylene or naphthalene. When separating the phthalic anhydride from production by products such as o–xylene in water, or maleic anhydride, a series of “switch condensers” is required. Phthalic anhydride can also be prepared from phthalic acid.
Phthalic anhydride is a precursor to a variety of reagents useful in organic synthesis. Important derivatives include phthalimide and its many derivatives.
Phthalic anhydride is widely used in industry for the production of certain dyes. A well-known application of this reactivity is the preparation of the anthroquinone dye quinizarin by reaction with para–chlorophenol followed by hydrolysis of the chloride.
One of the main uses of phthalic anhydride is the production of “phthalate” plasticizers such as DINP (DiIsoNonyl Phthalate) which are used to produce flexible PVC (Vinyl) products. These include, but are not limited to Wire & Cable applications, coated fabrics, roofing membranes and swimming pool liners.
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