Phenol (C₆H₅OH)

Phenol (C₆H₅OH)

The simplest of the aromatic hydroxy compounds.



phenol, carbolic acid, hydroxy compound, aromatic hydroxy compound, hydroxyl group, aromatic ring, phenolates, toxic, phenoplast, coal tar, organic chemistry, chemistry

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Phenol, carbolic acid C₆H₅OH


Molar mass: 94.11 g/mol

Melting point: 43 °C (109.4 °F)

Boiling point: 181.7 °C (359.06 °F)

Density: 1.0576 g/cm³ (0.0382 lb/in³)

Heat of combustion: -3,053.4 kJ/mol


Phenol is a colorless, toxic substance with a characteristic smell, forming needle-shaped crystals. When it is exposed to air for a longer period of time, its color changes to brownish red. Its non-polar ring makes it well soluble in non-polar solvents.

It is soluble in water too, due to the presence of a polar OH group, but its solubility in water is limited. Its concentrated aqueous solution is a weakly acidic, milk-like liquid: it is a stronger acid than ethanol but weaker than carbonic acid.

When it reacts with sodium-hydroxide, it forms sodium phenolate salt, which is water-soluble.

Phenol causes proteins to precipitate. When it comes in contact with skin, it causes burns.

Occurrence and production

Phenol occurs in coal tar and the trunk and needles of pine trees.

It is produced from benzene.


Phenol is used in large quantities as a base material in the manufacture of plastics (called phenoplasts). It is also used for dyes, medicines, pesticides and perfumes.

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Aniline (C₆H₅NH₂)

The simplest aromatic amine. Its scientific name is phenylamine.

Benzene (C₆H₆)

Benzene is the simplest aromatic hydrocarbon.

Covalent bonds in benzene molecules

In benzene there are sigma bonds and delocalized pi bonds between carbon atoms.

Benzoic acid (C₆H₅COOH)

The simplest of the aromatic carboxylic acids.

Styrene (vinyl benzene) (C₈H₈)

A colorless liquid with an odor similar to benzene. The monomer of polystyrene.

Molecule exercise V (Oxo compounds)

An exercise about the groups and structure of oxo compounds.

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