Benzene vs. Phenol

Difference Between Benzene and Phenol

Benzene and phenol are hydrocarbons which are aromatic. Phenol is derived from benzene. Kekule discovered the structure of Benzene in 1872. They are different from aliphatic compounds as they are aromatic. They are studied in organic chemistry.


Benzene is made of hydrogen and carbon atoms which are arranged in such a way as to give it a planar structure. Its molecular formula is C6H6. It is a liquid without any color. It has sweet odor. It evaporates quickly and is flammable. It can be used as a solvent as it is dissolved many non polar compound. But it is slightly soluble in water. Its structure is unique as compared to other aliphatic hydrocarbons. As a result, it has unique properties. There are three sp2 hybridized orbitals in all the carbons of benzene. Two sp2 orbitals of a carbon overlap with the sp2 orbitals of adjacent carbons in either side. A bond is formed when other sp2 orbital overlaps with an S orbital of hydrogen. When the electrons in a P orbitals of carbon overlap with P electrons of carbon atoms in both sides, a Pi bond is formed. All the six carbon atoms are involved in such overlapping. As a result they form a system of Pi bonds. These Pi bonds are spread over the complete carbon ring. The electrons thus overlapping are known to be delocalized electrons.

Natural products can be the source of benzene. Generally, benzene is found in petrochemicals like gasoline. It is also found in some plastics, dyes, detergent, drugs, lubricants, synthetic rubber, and cigarette etc. When these materials are burned, benzene is released. Thus we observe that factory emissions and automobile exhaust released benzene. High level of benzene can cause cancer as it is carcinogenic.


It is crystalline of whit color. It is solid and it formula is C6H6OH. It has a strong odor and it is flammable.  Phenol is achieved when an atom of hydrogen in benzene molecule is substituted by a -OH group. So, we find the similar aromatic ring structure in phenol as we find in benzene. But the –OH group makes its properties different form benzene. It is slightly acidic. It forms the phenolate ion when it loses the hydrogen of the –OH group. As a result its resonance stabilized making phenol a good acid. It is soluble in water moderately as hydrogen bonds with water can be formed by it. Phenol evaporates at slow speed as compared with water.


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