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Information @ a Glance

General Information

  • Maleic anhydride (cis-butenedioic anhydride, toxilic anhydride, dihydro-2,5-dioxofuran) is an organic compound with the formula C4H2O3. In its pure state it is a colourless or white solid with an acrid odour.                      
  • Maleic Anhydride has a cyclic structure with a ring containing four carbon atoms and one oxygen atom.
  • It is soluble in acetone, hydrolyzing in water.


  • The international technology has moved towards butane as feed stock, fluidised bed reactor, and anhydrous recovery system.
  • In future, the technology for MA production, is likely to be based on butane, fluid bed reactor and anhydrous recovery system.

Manufacturing Process

  • It is prepared in commerce by the oxidation of benzene with catalyst at high temperatures or by the reaction of C4 (butane) with oxygen in the presence of vanadium catalyst.
  • Maleic anhydride is also produced by reaction of butane with oxygen using the vanadium phosphorus oxide heterogeneous catalyst.


  • It is used to prepare Unsaturated polyester resins, lubricating oil additives, copolymers, fumaric acid, agricultural chemicals, malic acid, sulfosuccinic acid esters, alkenyl succinic anhydrides and alkyd resins.
  • MA is a basic chemical used in automotive, shipbuilding, paint and varnish, construction, agricultural chemistry and other industries.
  • Other applications where maleic anhydride is used include the production of agricultural chemicals, malic acid, copolymers, fumaric acid, lubricant additives, surfactants and plasticizers.


  • The biggest maleic anhydride suppliers (net exporters) to the global market are the USA, Japan, Belgium, Italy. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific region are major net importers.
  • The demand for maleic anhydride is great among major buyers which use maleic anhydride in unsaturated polyester resins.
  • Growth in the worldwide maleic anhydride industry is predominantly in the butane-to-maleic anhydride route, often at the expense of benzene-based production.

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