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Suberic acid is the trivial name for the compound octanedioic acid, HO2C(CH2)6CO2H:

      H H H H H H
      | | | | | |   
    | | | | | | | | 
    O H H H H H H O
    H             H

The compound is a diacid, which means that it can donate two protons. To be precise, suberic acid belongs to the polycarboxylic acids because of the two carboxyl groups (-CO2H) at the ends. It is a white, fatty, crystalline substance.

The name of this compound is derived from the Latin suber, Cork tree. The oxidation of cork with nitric acid results in a mixture of acids by the name cerinic acid. From this mixture, Luigi Valentino Brugnatelli, a 18th century chemist first isolated suberic acid. In the 19th century, suberic acid was mainly produced by synthesis from castor oil.

Suberic acid is mainly used in alkyd resins; coatings and paints. Another application is the synthesis of certain plastics, particularly certain types of nylon. Because of its bifunctionality, suberic acid can easily polymerize with a difunctional alcohol, or (in the case of nylon) a diamine; a condensation polymerization.

    x HO2C(CH2)6CO2H + x H2N(CH2)6NH2 -> -[C(CH2)6C-NH(CH2)6NH-]x- + x H2O
                                         ||    ||
                                         O     O

                                            nylon 8,6
R.J. Fessenden and J.S. Fessenden, Organic Chemistry, 4th edition (1990), Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

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