Phenol

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40.5 °C, 314 K, 105 °F

181.7 °C, 455 K, 359 °F

Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white, crystalline solid at room temperature. It consists of a phenyl (-C6H5) group, bonded to a hydroxyl (-OH) group. It is produced on a large scale (about 7 billion kg/year) as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds.[1] It is only mildly acidic but requires careful handling due to its toxicity and its propensity to cause severe burns.

Contents

Phenols

The word phenol is also used to refer to any compound that contains a six-membered aromatic ring, bonded directly to a hydroxyl group (-OH). Thus, phenols are a class of organic compounds of which the phenol discussed in this article is the simplest member.

Properties

Phenol is appreciably soluble in water, with about 8.3 g dissolving in 100 ml (0.88 M). The sodium salt of phenol, sodium phenoxide, is far more water soluble. It is a reactive molecule.[clarification needed]

Acidity

It is slightly acidic: the phenol molecule has weak tendencies to lose the H+ ion from the hydroxyl group, resulting in the highly water-soluble phenolate anion C6H5O, called phenoxide anion.[2] Compared to aliphatic alcohols, phenol shows much higher acidity (about 1 million times more acidic). It reacts completely with aqueous NaOH to lose H+, whereas most alcohols react only partially. Phenols are less acidic than carboxylic acids.

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