What is Toluene?

Toluene is a liquid, which is colorless, water-insoluble and smells like paint thinners. It is a mono-substituted colorless liquid, consisting of a CH3 group that is attached to a phenyl group.

Toluene is widely used as an industrial raw material and a solvent for manufacturing of many commercial products, including paints and glues.toluene

Chemical Properties

Toluene more reactive to electrophiles than the benzene. Due to the greater part of methyl group than the electron-releasing properties, it reacts normal fragrant in the same position. It faces sulfonation to provide an acid called p-toluenesulfonic and chlorination by Cl2 in the presence of FeCl3 to give ortho and para isomers of chlorotoluene.

Toluene Uses

Toluene is largely used as a benzene:

\[C_{6}H_{5}CH_{3}+H_{2}\rightarrow C_{6}H_{6}+CH_{4}\]

While the second most used application involves its disproportionate to a mixture of benzene and xylene.

Precursor to other chemicals: Along with the synthesis of benzene and xylene, toluene is used in the manufacture of the following

  • Polyurethane foam
  • Trinitrotoluene – Explosive
  • TNT
  • Synthetic Drugs.

Solvent: Toluene is a common solvent used for the following:

  • Glues
  • Paints
  • Paint Thinners
  • Printing Ink
  • Rubber
  • Leather Tanners
  • Silicone Sealants
  • Chemical Reactants
  • Lacquers
  • Disinfectants.

Fuel: It can be used in internal combustion engines as gasoline fuel.

Niche applications: It is used as a solvent for carbon nanomaterials, nanotubes and fullerenes.

Practise This Question

Chlorination of methane is an example of: