Toluene - C6H5CH3

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. The chemical formula of toluene can be written as C6H5CH3.

Properties of Toluene

Toluene is more reactive to electrophiles than the benzene. Due to the greater part of the 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.

Chemical formula of Toluene C6H5CH3
Boiling point of Toluene 111 °C
Melting point of Toluene −95 °C
Density of Toluene 0.87 g/mL
Molecular weight of Toluene 92.141 g/mol

Toluene structure

Toluene structure

Structure of Toluene

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

Toluene production

Toluene is naturally found in crude oil and as a byproduct in the gasoline production. Also, it is obtained as a byproduct in coke production from coal.

Production of Toluene at industrial level is inexpensive. It is synthesized in various methods. For example, the reaction of benzene with methyl chloride in the presence of aluminium chloride (Lewis acid) to give toluene:

C6H5H + CH3Cl → C6H5CH3 + HCl

Toluene Uses

Toluene is widely used as a precursor to benzene. The chemical equation for the reaction between toluene and hydrogen gas can be written as follows.

C6H5CH3 + H2 → C6H6 + CH4

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

Toluene as a 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.

Toluene as a 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.

Other Applications of Toluene

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

Niche applications of Toluene:

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

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