Gas Library

benzeneBenzene (C6H6)

Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6.
Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, and is one of the most basic petrochemicals. Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon and the second [n]-annulene ([6]-annulene), a cyclic hydrocarbon with a continuous pi bond. It is sometimes abbreviated Ph–H. Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid with a sweet smell. Because it is a known carcinogen, its use as an additive in gasoline is now limited, but it is an important industrial solvent and precursor to basic industrial chemicals including drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes.

Today, benzene is used mainly as an intermediate to make other chemicals. Its most widely-produced derivatives include styrene, which is used to make polymers and plastics, phenol for resins and adhesives (via cumene), and cyclohexane, which is used in the manufacture of Nylon. Smaller amounts of benzene are used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, explosives, napalm, and pesticides.In both the US and Europe, 50% of benzene is used in the production of ethylbenzene/styrene, 20% is used in the production of cumene, and about 15% of benzene is used in the production of cyclohexane (eventually to nylon).

Currently, the production of and demand for benzene in the Middle East register the greatest increases worldwide. It will probably see its share of the global supply and demand expand by 3.7 and 3.3 percentage points, respectively, until 2018. However, the Asia-Pacific region will continue to dominate the market and account for almost half of the global demand.
In laboratory research, toluene is now often used as a substitute for benzene. The solvent-properties of the two are similar, but toluene is less toxic and has a wider liquid range.

Benzene has been used as a basic research tool in a variety of experiments including analysis of a two-dimensional gas.