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Is there a difference in polarity between maleic acid and fumeric acid?

  1. Oct 20, 2014 #1
    I was wondering because I did a TLC experiment where maleic acid has a RF of 1.4 and fumeric acid has an Rf of 4.5. Everywhere says that a longer Rf means that the solvent is less polar than a smaller Rf solvent. However I read somewhere else that Maleic acid has the same polarity as fumeric acid.

    thanks for the help guys
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 21, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    As you were already told elsewhere, Rf is typically reported as belonging to 0..1 range, so the values you have listed look strange.

    Rf is not a property of a solvent, it is a value characteristic of a solvent/substance/stationary phase triplet.

    Neither maleic nor fumaric (note the spelling) acid are liquid at room temperature, so neither of them was a solvent here.

    Hard to answer the question, when there is so much confusing data in your post.
  4. Feb 15, 2017 #3
    Fumaric acid has lesser polarity than maleic acid as in fumaric acid polarities of the two-COOH groups get cancelled so there is polarity only due to the two -H whereas in maleic acid the polarities of the two -COOH groups get added along with polarities of the two -H
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