A colourless gas, C3O2, with an unpleasant odour; r.d. 1.114 (liquid at 0°C); m.p. –111.3°C; b.p. 7°C. It is the acid anhydride of malonic acid, from which it can be prepared by dehydration using phosphorus(V) oxide. The molecule is linear (O:C:C:C:O).