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Acenaphthylene is an ethylene containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. It is an ingredient used in preparing coal tar.

Acenaphthylene Chemical Properties

Know all about the chemical properties of this substance:-

Chemical Formula

The chemical formula for this chemical is C12H8.

Boiling Point

The boiling point for this chemical is at 280 °C.

Melting Point

The melting point of this chemical is at 92-93 °C.

Molecular Weight

The molecular weight of this chemical is 152.20 g/mol.


The density of this chemical is 0.899 g/cm3.

Physical Properties

This substance generally occurs as a yellow or colorless crystalline powder.


The substance is soluble in a wide variety of compounds including methanol, ethanol, ether, alcohol, benzene and petroleum ether. It is insoluble in water.


This is a stable compound, though it is not compatible with oxidizing agents.


Acenaphthylene can react violently with other hydrocarbons and can even give rise to explosions. The chemical reacts exothermically with diazo compounds and bases. The benzene nucleus can be changed by a halogenation reaction and acid catalysts. Other factors contributing to this effect are the Friedel-Crafts reaction, sulfonation and nitration. The substance can have a direct photolysis reaction in water under the influence of sunlight. A reaction with carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide can produce a hazardous decomposition.


This chemical is inflammable and prone to causing fire accidents if not stored or handled carefully.


Even though this chemical compound is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, unlike most of its kind, it has got no fluorescent properties.


The molecule of the chemical has a three-ring structure. Two of the rings are hexagonal and one is pentagonal.

Picture of Acenaphthylene
Picture 1 – Acenaphthylene
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Acenaphthylene Synthesis

The compound is produced during combustion of natural fibers. It can be produced from 1-Acetoxyacenaphthene (C14H12O2) and 4-Amino-1,8-Naphthalimide (C12H8N2O2). It is a common ingredient in coal tar and crude oil. It is also often produced as an industrial or municipal waste. Coal tar distillation is another way of producing this substance.

Acenaphthylene Uses

The chemical compound is used in the production of materials like

  • Dyes
  • Pigments
  • Soaps
  • Pesticides (such as fungicides, herbicides and insecticides)

It is also used in manufacturing plastic.

Acenaphthylene MSDS

The chemical is commonly released in the environment by disposal of factory and industrial sewage and waste byproducts. This substance is also produced by coal tar distillation.

Humans are generally infected by this compound by inhalation or dermal contact where the content of this chemical is high. The chemical exists as vapor in the air. Drinking water supplies can also get contaminated by this chemical and prove to be a health hazard for humans. People swimming or taking baths in water contaminated with this chemical can also get infected. This can lead to health disorders such as skin cancer.

Acenaphthylene Toxicology

Toxicology data on this substance shows that it is harmful to health if it is swallowed or inhaled or absorbed by skin. Exposure to the eyes or the respiratory organs can cause subsequent irritation and health damage. A person might suffer from lung cancer if his or her respiratory organs are exposed to this chemical.

The compound goes through biodegradation in the surrounding environment.

Critical Areas of Acenaphthylene Infection

The areas that are most vulnerable to infection include

  • Lungs
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Nervous system
  • Mucous membranes

Acenaphthylene Safety Measures

Human eyes, on direct contact with this substance, can suffer from irritation. In such cases, the eyes should be splashed with lots of water for at least fifteen minutes. A doctor should be consulted for a checkup.

If the skin gets in contact with this chemical, the clothes should be removed and the infected areas should be washed with water. Medical help should be taken for precaution. The clothes should be washed before wearing them again.

If the chemical is swallowed, a doctor should be consulted and unless recommended by the doctor, vomiting should not be induced.

If this chemical is inhaled, a person should immediately move to a place with fresh, pure air. If that does not help in proper breathing, artificial respiration should be used.

Fire Safety Measures

Toxic gases and irritants may be released during a combustion or thermal decomposition of this chemical compound. Carbon dioxide, dry chemical or foam should be used to put off the fire. A breathing apparatus, approved by MSHA/NIOSH, should be worn while dealing with a fire caused by this compound.

Exposure Safety Measures

Proper safety gear including eyewear, gloves and breathing gear should be used to dispose of any leakage of this material.

Acenaphthylene Degradation

This chemical can be degraded by biodegrading agents. The bacterium Rhizobium special strain CU-A1 can be used for this purpose.

Oxidation is another process of degrading this chemical. Oxidizing agents such as Ozone and Hydrogen peroxide can be used to degrade this compound.

Acenaphthylene Thermal Dimerization

The methods of obtaining E-heptacyclene or Z-heptacyclene under the influence of Acenaphthylene thermal dimerization were investigated in a recent study. The conclusions derived from the experiments inferred that acenaphthylene thermal dimerization at 298.15 K is exergonic and exothermic in gaseous and solid conditions.

This is an important chemical used for manufacturing insecticides that are required for domestic purposes. Hence, people are often found to live in close proximity to this chemical. It is thus important to take adequate care so as to avoid any contamination which could result in serious health issues.


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