Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The condensation of phenols with phthalic anhydride to give acid-base indicators is well known. The preparation of phenolphthalein was first reported by Baeyer in 1871 (1) using concentrated sulfuric acid as the catalyst. Baeyer reported the successful use of sulfuric chloride as the catalyst for the preparation of phenolphthalein in 1880 (2). Early reports of the condensation of resorcinol (3), p-chlorophenol(4) and o-cresol (5) with phthalic anhydride have also been made. The reaction of phenols with coumarin (11), with diphenic acid anhydride (8) and with succinic anhydride (6) to form compounds comparable in structure to the phthaleins has been reported. Very little work was done however toward establishing the indicator properties of the products. Sisson (13) attempted to prepare a number of maleins and succineins from phenols and maleic anhydride and succinic anhydride respectively. While indicator properties were evident he obviously did not isolate pure compounds or study them in detail. Similar results were reported by Doss and Tewari (7) who could not have had pure products. It seemed of interest therefore to repeat some of this work with the hope of obtaining the phenomaleins in a pure condition and of making a more comprehensive study of their indicator properties.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Indicators and test-papers


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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