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Benzene: Preparation

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Benzene: Preparation - Lesson Summary

Methods of preparing Benzene: 
Benzene was first isolated by Michael Faraday. In 1845, August Wilhelm Hofmann and his team isolated benzene from coal tar. Commercially, Benzene is isolated from coal tar by subjecting it to fractional distillation.
Benzene can be prepared in the laboratory by several methods:
  • Cyclic polymerisation of ethyne
  • Decarboxylation of aromatic acids
  • Reduction of phenol
Cyclic polymerisation: 
Benzene was first synthesised by Marcelin Berthelot by passing ethyne through a red hot iron tube at 873 K.

In a laboratory, Benzene can also be obtained by the decarboxylation of aromatic acids. Sodium benzoate on heating with soda-lime loses a molecule of carbon dioxide and forms benzene.

Benzene can be prepared by the reduction of phenol by passing its vapours over heated zinc dust.

Properties of Benzene:
  • Benzene is a colourless liquid with a characteristic smell. 
  • Boiling point of benzene is 80°C.
  • It is non-polar in nature, thus insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol and ether.
  • Benzene is highly inflammable. It burns with a sooty flame due to its high carbon-to-hydrogen ratio.

  • Thus aromatic compounds that produce sooty flames are distinguished from aliphatic compounds that produce non-sooty flames


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