Important Properties and Applications of Benzene

September 5, 2020 Tom Clark | Comments Off

Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C6H6. Benzene molecules are made up of 6 carbon atoms that are joined in a ring-shaped structure featuring alternating single and double bonds. Each of these carbon atoms is singly bonded to a hydrogen atom. Therefore, each carbon atom in a benzene molecule has:

  • A single bond with a neighbouring carbon atom
  • A double bond with the other neighbouring carbon atom
  • A single bond with a hydrogen atom

Benzene can be classified as an organic compound and is known to be a component of crude oil. Some important properties and applications of benzene are provided in this article.

Properties of Benzene

  • The molar mass of benzene is roughly equal to 78.11 grams per mole.
  • Under standard conditions for temperature and pressure (often abbreviated to STP), benzene exists as a colourless liquid that emanates a very sweet and aromatic odour.
  • At STP, the density of benzene corresponds to roughly 0.8765 grams per cubic centimetre.
  • The melting point of this aromatic hydrocarbon is approximately equal to 5.53 degrees Celsius. On the Kelvin scale, the melting point of benzene can be represented as 278.68 K.
  • The boiling point of this organic compound is approximately equal to 80.1 degrees Celsius. On the Kelvin scale, the boiling point of benzene can be represented as 353.2 K.

The Solubility of Benzene in Water

Benzene is not very soluble in water. However, the solubility of this compound in water increases as the temperature is increased. For example, at a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, the solubility of benzene in water is roughly equal to 1.79 grams per litre. However, when the temperature is raised to 100 degrees Celsius, the solubility of this organic compound in water increases to 3.94 grams per litre.

It can also be noted that benzene is soluble in chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, acetic acid, acetone, and diethyl ether.

Applications of Benzene

One of the most important applications of benzene is its use as an intermediate for the production of other commercially important chemicals. For example, benzene is an intermediate in the production of ethylbenzene and cumene. It can be noted that the preferred IUPAC name of cumene as per the IUPAC nomenclature rules is (Propan-2-yl)benzene. Benzene is also crucial for the industrial synthesis of nitrobenzene and alkylbenzene. Since ethylbenzene is a precursor to styrene, benzene is vital to the polymer industry for the production of polystyrene as well.

Relatively small quantities of benzene can also be used for the production of certain detergents, lubricants, and dyes. Benzene can also be used in the production of certain pesticides. Furthermore, this aromatic hydrocarbon has several applications in the pharmaceutical industry for the production of drugs. Another important application of benzene is as a fuel additive. This organic compound can be incorporated into petrol in order to increase the octane rating of the fuel. It is also believed to reduce knocking in the internal combustion engines.