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Benzene (C6H6):

  • Description: Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon with the molecular formula C6H6. It is a colorless, volatile, and highly flammable liquid with a sweet odor.


  • Aromatic Compound: Benzene is a simple aromatic hydrocarbon, consisting of six carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal ring with alternating double bonds, known as a benzene ring.
  • Volatility: Benzene evaporates quickly when exposed to air due to its high volatility.
  • Flammability: It is highly flammable, with a flashpoint of -11°C (12°F).

Sources and Production:

  1. Natural Sources:
  • Crude Oil: Benzene is present in small proportions in some crude oils.
  • Coal: It can also be obtained as a byproduct in the manufacture of coke from coal.
  1. Commercial Production:
  • Petroleum Refining: Benzene is produced commercially from petroleum through the catalytic reforming of naphthenes in petroleum naphtha.
  • Other Methods: It can also be synthesized through the hydrodealkylation of toluene, steam cracking of hydrocarbons, and as a byproduct in the production of other chemicals.


  • Solvent: Benzene is used as an industrial solvent due to its ability to dissolve various organic substances.
  • Manufacturing:
  • Detergents: It is a precursor in the production of detergents.
  • Synthetic Fibers: Benzene is used in the manufacture of synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester.
  • Petrochemicals: It serves as a building block for the synthesis of various petrochemicals, including styrene (for plastics), phenol (for resins and adhesives), and cyclohexane (for nylon production).
  • High-Octane Gasoline: Benzene is a component of high-octane gasoline, enhancing the fuel’s performance.

Health and Safety:

  • Toxicity: Benzene is toxic and exposure can lead to serious health effects. It is a known carcinogen and prolonged exposure can cause bone marrow suppression, leading to conditions such as anemia, leukopenia, and increased risk of leukemia.
  • Safety Measures: Due to its toxicity and flammability, strict safety measures must be observed when handling benzene, including proper ventilation, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and adherence to exposure limits set by regulatory bodies.

Environmental Impact:

  • Pollution: Benzene is a significant environmental pollutant. It can be released into the atmosphere from industrial emissions, vehicle exhausts, and cigarette smoke.
  • Regulation: Due to its harmful effects, benzene emissions are regulated by environmental agencies to minimize exposure and environmental contamination.

In summary, benzene (C6H6) is an aromatic hydrocarbon widely used in industrial applications due to its properties as a solvent and its role in the production of various chemicals and materials. Despite its utility, it poses significant health and environmental risks, necessitating careful handling and regulation.

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