Organic chemistry

What is Phenol used for?

Characteristics of phenol

What is phenol used for?

Phenol main features and importance:

Phenol main features and importance is listed here in this article.The  phenol  is an organic function, and it is composed of organic compounds (presence of carbon atoms), characterized by the presence of functional hydroxyl group (-OH) together with the benzene rings (carbon benzene ring) or aromatic ( C6H6).

Content Index :

  • 1 Main features
  • 2 Importance
  • 3 Classification of phenols
  • 4 Examples of Phenol
    • 4.1 Cresol
    • 4.2 Hydroquinone
    • 4.3 Eugenol
    • 4.4 Citric acid
  • 5 Curiosities

Main features phenol:

The phenol group has a molecular formula C6H5OH, and is also called: hydroxybenzene, monohydroxy, benzene, benzene, benzene, common phenol or phenolic acid.

However, the phenols  are soluble in alcohol and ether and poorly soluble in water , and are obtained by extracting oils (coal tar), leaves and petals of some plants (carqueja, ginger, clove, oregano, thyme) .

They are colorless .

phenol main features and importance

In addition, these organic compounds have the following characteristics:  crystalline substance  (solid),  colorless  (mainly),  acidic , with a  strong and irritating smell.

They have high boiling and melting points .

They can form hydrogen bonds.

They have a weak acidic character.

Thus, it is worth mentioning that most phenols are considered dangerous since they are highly corrosive , toxic , irritating to the mucosa, causing burns and also, if ingested or inhaled, can cause death.

They are used for the manufacture of explosives, resins, polymers, paints, varnishes and also bactericides and fungicides, for example, creoline (disinfectant). However, it should be noted that phenols are also compounds widely used in the cosmetics, perfumes and dyes industry.

Importance of phenol:

Phenols are of the following importance and  are used in cleaning products such as disinfectants , used in creoline, used in  dye production, resin production, bakelite production, burn ointments, explosive detonators.

Phenol and its derivatives  are often powerful bactericides  because they have the ability to coagulate the proteins of bacterial organisms.

Therefore, common phenol  was widely used as a disinfectant for surgical instruments , which greatly reduced the number of deaths from hospital infection at that time. However, over time, it has been replaced by its derivatives because phenol is toxic and corrosive and can cause burns.

Phenol is used today in the  manufacture of dyes , in the preparation of resins, in the production of phenolphthalein (an acid-base indicator widely used in titration processes in laboratories), aspirin, picric acid (to be mentioned in the following paragraph) and cresols.

2,4,6-Trinitrophenol (picric acid or butamben picrate) is a compound used in ointments for burns, in explosive detonators and in the production of bakelite (condensation polymer resulting from the polymerization of phenol with formaldehyde, being used in the production of musical records, sockets, switches, pot handles, telephones, billiard balls, cameras, furniture coverings (for this purpose bakelite is known as formica), home appliance housings, auto parts and in the production of some tools).

Hydroquinone (1,4-dihydroxybenzene) and resorcinol (1,3-dihydroxybenzene) (1,3-dihydroxybenzene) are phenols used in treatments against skin blemishes caused by acne, sun and sun. premature aging. One of the treatments he uses is peeling.

But, as mentioned earlier, the phenol group also appears in some medications.

Phenol Classification

According to the number of hydroxyls present in the molecule, phenols are classified as:

  • Monophenols:  a molecule formed by a hydroxyl
  • Diphenols:  a molecule formed by two hydroxyls
  • Triphenols:  molecules formed by three hydroxyls

Examples of Phenol

Cresol

They are found mainly in nature (food, firewood, tobacco smoke, coal tar), cresols  are used to preserve wood through its repellent power , in the production of antiseptics, dyes, perfumes, insecticides, resins, generators , explosives, solvents, among others; They are popularly known by their names: creoline and lysol. There are three types of cresols: Ortocresol (O-cresol), Metacresol (M-Cresol) and Paracresol (P-Cresol), with molecular formula: C7H8O.

Hydroquinone

Known as quinol, this phenol has been widely  used in skin treatments , such as peeling. In addition to medicine, hydroquinone is used in the production of polymers, herbicides and antioxidants; Its molecular formula is C6H6O2.

Eugenol

Known as clove oil,  eugenol has antiseptic , anesthetic, medicinal and bactericidal properties. It is present in clove, cinnamon and myrrh, and is also a compound widely used by the cosmetic industry; Its molecular formula is: C10H12O2.

Citric acid

Known as trinitrophenol, this phenol is acid and strong,  used in drug production  as well as in the production of grenades, bombs, armaments, polymers and rockets; Its molecular formula is C6H3N3O7.

Curiosities

The  aspirin  (acetylsalicylic acid) is produced by reacting with phenol.

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