In chemistry, an anhydride
is typically an oxide
of a nonmetallic element
or an organic radical
, capable of forming an acid
by uniting with the elements of water. The anhydride is so called because it may be formed from an acid by the removal of water.
Examples of inorganic anhydrides include dinitrogen tetroxide, which is the anhydride of nitric acid, and sulfur trioxide, which is the anhydride of sulfuric acid. Useful organic anhydrides include acetic anhydride, formed by the condensation of acetic acid:
- 2 CH3COOH → (CH3CO)2O + H2O
Anhydrides are typically more reactive than their corresponding acids, as they can react with water to form their corresponding acid. They often are good dehydrating agents. Acetic anhydride is useful in the acetylation of salicylic acid, as using acetic acid to do the reaction leaves water behind that can destroy the product, acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin
In biology, most of the high energy phosphate compounds are formed from the condensation of the phosphate ion with a phosporylated sugar. The resulting pyrophosphate bond is a classic anhydride bond.