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Naphthalene vs. Anthracene — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 2, 2023
Naphthalene has two fused benzene rings, used in mothballs. Anthracene has three fused benzene rings and is used in OLED production. Both are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) but differ in structure and applications.
Naphthalene vs. Anthracene — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Naphthalene and Anthracene

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Key Differences

Naphthalene, commonly recognized for its application in mothballs, is an aromatic hydrocarbon consisting of two fused benzene rings. On the other hand, Anthracene, with three fused benzene rings, plays a pivotal role in the production of certain organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).
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Nov 02, 2023
The molecular structure of Naphthalene results in a molecule that is relatively flat but possesses distinct electron cloud characteristics. In contrast, Anthracene, although also planar, demonstrates unique photophysical properties due to its extended conjugated system.
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Nov 02, 2023
In terms of physical appearance, Naphthalene often appears as white crystals and is noted for its characteristic, strong odor. Anthracene, however, generally appears as yellow crystals and exhibits a blue fluorescence under ultraviolet light.
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Nov 02, 2023
While Naphthalene is solid at room temperature and sublimates readily, providing a means to repel moths, Anthracene is explored in the realm of dyes and pigments owing to its capability to produce vivid colors.
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Nov 02, 2023
Naphthalene's potential health impacts include skin and eye irritation upon exposure, while Anthracene is considered less toxic but may be implicated in environmental concerns, particularly when present in large quantities in ecosystems.
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Nov 02, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Basic Structure

Two fused benzene rings
Three fused benzene rings
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Common Use

Moth repellent
OLEDs, dyes, and pigments
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Physical State

Solid and sublimates readily
Solid
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Physical Appearance

White crystals
Yellow crystals
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Health Impact

Can irritate skin and eyes
Less toxic, environmental concerns
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Nov 02, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Naphthalene

Naphthalene can act as a precursor to various chemical compounds.
Naphthalene is transformed into numerous derivatives that find utility in chemical syntheses.
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Oct 10, 2023

Anthracene

Anthracene is a solid polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon composed of three fused benzene rings.
Anthracene is crucial in synthesizing certain dyes and pigments.
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Oct 10, 2023

Naphthalene

Naphthalene is a white, volatile, solid polycyclic hydrocarbon with a strong odor.
Naphthalene balls are often used to prevent moth damage to woolen clothes.
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Oct 10, 2023

Anthracene

Anthracene is employed in the production of specific types of OLEDs.
The electroluminescent layer of some OLEDs utilizes anthracene due to its favorable electronic properties.
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Oct 10, 2023

Naphthalene

Naphthalene is renowned for its utilization in the manufacture of phthalic anhydride.
The industrial production of phthalic anhydride often involves the oxidation of naphthalene.
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Anthracene

Anthracene exhibits blue fluorescence under ultraviolet light.
Under ultraviolet light, anthracene crystals emit a characteristic blue glow.
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Oct 10, 2023

Naphthalene

Naphthalene finds applications in the development of certain dyes and resins.
Dyes derived from naphthalene are utilized to color a range of fabrics.
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Anthracene

Anthracene can be hydrogenated to produce anthraquinone, a useful chemical intermediate.
Through hydrogenation, anthracene is converted to anthraquinone, which is pivotal in dye manufacturing.
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Naphthalene

Naphthalene is utilized in the formulation of surfactants in the industrial sector.
The cleaning action of some industrial surfactants is enhanced with the inclusion of naphthalene.
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Anthracene

Anthracene is utilized in scintillation counters within radiation detection.
Radiation detection in some laboratories employs anthracene for its scintillation properties.
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Oct 10, 2023

Naphthalene

A white crystalline aromatic compound, C10H8, derived from coal tar or petroleum and used in manufacturing dyes, moth repellents, and explosives and as a solvent. Also called tar camphor.
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Oct 07, 2023

Anthracene

A crystalline aromatic hydrocarbon, C14H10, extracted from coal tar and used in the manufacture of dyes and organic chemicals.
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Oct 07, 2023

Naphthalene

A white crystalline hydrocarbon manufactured from coal tar; used in mothballs.
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Anthracene

(organic compound) A tricyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (an acene containing three fused rings) obtained from coal tar; used in the manufacture of wood preservatives, insecticides and the dye alizarin; it is isomeric with phenanthrene.
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Oct 07, 2023

Naphthalene

(organic compound) An aromatic bicyclic hydrocarbon, C10H8; an acene containing two fused benzene rings.
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Anthracene

A solid hydrocarbon, C6H4.C2H2.C6H4, which accompanies naphthalene in the last stages of the distillation of coal tar. Its chief use is in the artificial production of alizarin.
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Naphthalene

A white crystalline aromatic hydrocarbon, C10H8, analogous to benzene, and obtained by the distillation of certain bituminous materials, such as the heavy oil of coal tar. It is the type and basis of a large number of derivatives among organic compounds. Formerly called also naphthaline.
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Oct 07, 2023

Naphthalene

A white crystalline strong-smelling hydrocarbon made from coal tar or petroleum and used in organic synthesis and as a fumigant in mothballs
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Common Curiosities

What is naphthalene commonly used for?

Moth repellents, in the form of mothballs.
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Nov 02, 2023

What physical state is naphthalene typically found in?

A white, solid state which sublimates readily.
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How many benzene rings does anthracene contain?

Three fused benzene rings.
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What color does anthracene fluoresce under UV light?

Blue.
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Can naphthalene be used in dye manufacturing?

Yes, it’s utilized as a precursor in producing certain dyes.
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Is anthracene utilized in electronics?

Yes, particularly in the manufacture of certain OLEDs.
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Nov 02, 2023

What are potential applications of anthracene?

In dyes, pigments, OLEDs, and radiation detection.
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Can naphthalene be found in household products?

Yes, particularly in mothballs and certain deodorizers.
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Nov 02, 2023

Is naphthalene harmful to humans?

Yes, it can cause skin and eye irritation and may be harmful when inhaled.
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What is the physical appearance of naphthalene?

It usually appears as white crystals.
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Nov 02, 2023

Does anthracene find application in research laboratories?

Yes, it is utilized in research, especially related to its fluorescence and scintillation properties.
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Nov 02, 2023

How does anthracene appear physically?

It generally appears as yellow crystals.
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Nov 02, 2023

Does naphthalene have a characteristic odor?

Yes, it has a strong, distinctive odor.
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Nov 02, 2023

How is anthracene derived industrially?

It is typically derived from coal tar.
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Nov 02, 2023

Are naphthalene and anthracene considered polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons?

Yes, both are categorized as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
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Nov 02, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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