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mellitic acid[mə′lid·ik ′as·əd]
(benzene-hexacarboxylic acid), colorless crystals that are readily soluble in water and alcohol; melting point, 288°C. Mellitic acid was named after the mineral mellite, C6(COO)6Al2. 18H2O, which occurs in brown coal deposits. Its structural formula is
Mellitic acid can be obtained by the oxidation (for example, with nitric acid) of charcoal, coal, soot, or graphite, as well as of hexamethylbenzene. This reaction serves as an interesting confirmation of the presence of benzene rings, discovered by physical methods, in graphite crystals.