Benzyl alcohol - C7H8O

What is Benzyl alcohol?

Benzyl alcohol is an aromatic alcohol with a chemical formula C7H8O. It is also known as Propanedioic Acid or Dicarboxymethane. It has low toxicity as well as low vapor pressure and therefore is used as a solvent. It is miscible in diethyl ether and alcohols but moderate solubility in water. It is a water-white liquid with a sharp burning taste and faint aromatic odor. It dissolves in alcohol, pyridine, and ether. Benzyl alcohol is obtained naturally from many plants and is extensively found in teas and fruits. It is also found in a variety of essential oils such as hyacinth, ylang-ylang, and jasmine.

Properties of Benzyl alcohol – C7H8O

C7H8O Benzyl alcohol
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 108.140 g/mol
Density 1.044 g/cm³
Boiling Point 205.3°C
Melting Point −15.2°C

Benzyl alcohol structure – C7H8O


The above image describes the structure of Benzyl alcohol. C7H8O is the chemical formula of Benzyl alcohol which has seven carbon atoms, eight hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom.

Benzyl alcohol preparation:

Benzyl alcohol can be prepared by hydrolyzing benzyl chloride with sodium hydroxide. The reaction is as follows:

\(C_{6}H_{5}CH_{2}Cl+NaOH\rightarrow C_{6}H_{5}CH_{2}OH+NaCl\)

It can also be prepared through a Grignard reaction. Reacting phenylmagnesium bromide with formaldehyde finishing by acidification.

Uses of Benzyl alcohol (C7H8O)

  • Benzyl alcohol is used as a solvent for waxes, inks, lacquers, paints, and shellacs.
  • It is used to enhance the flavors in e-cigarettes.
  • It acts as a precursor to a variety of esters and therefore is used in perfume and soap industries.
  • It is used as an insect repellant.
  • It is used as a photographic developer.
  • It is used to enhance the process of dying nylon, leather, and wool.
  • It is used as a bacteriostatic preservative and can treat lice infestations.
  • Due to its antifungal and antibacterial property, it is used in shampoos, facial cleansers, and skin lotions.
  • It acts as a local anesthetic when applied to the mucous membranes at a 10% concentration.

Benzyl alcohol health risks:

When the vapor of benzyl alcohol is inhaled it causes irritation in the upper respiratory tract. Prolonged inhalation may result in vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and headache. In severe cases, it may result in convulsions, respiratory and muscular paralysis, and death. When this compound is ingested it may lead to severe irritation in the gastrointestinal tract resulting in cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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which of the following is not an antihistamine