anthracene (ănˈthrəsēn) [key], C14H10, solid organic compound derived from coal tar. It melts at 218°C and boils at 354°C. When pure it is colorless and has a violet fluorescence; it darkens when exposed to sunlight. Anthracene is insoluble in water but is quite soluble in carbon disulfide and somewhat soluble in ethanol, methanol, benzene, chloroform, and other organic solvents. It is readily oxidized to form anthraquinone, the parent compound of the alizarin series of dyes. The molecular structure of anthracene consists of three benzenelike rings joined side by side; it is thus an aromatic compound. It is the first member of the anthracene series, a group of aromatic hydrocarbons that are structurally related to it and have the general formula C n H2 n - 18.
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