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Information @ a Glance

Introduction

  • Benzene, or benzol, is an organic chemical compound and a known carcinogen with the molecular formula C6H6.
  • Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid with a sweet smell and a relatively high melting point.
  • Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, but it is usually synthesized from other compounds present in petroleum.
  • Benzene is a natural component of crude oil, and petrol contains 15% by volume.

Manufacturing Process

  • Benzene is formed from natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, as well as from human activities.
  • Four chemical processes contribute to industrial benzene production: catalytic reforming, toluene hydrodealkylation, toluene disproportionation, and steam cracking.
  • The traditional method of manufacturing benzene from the distillation of light oils produced during the manufacture of coke has been overtaken by a number of processes.
  • A growing source of benzene is by the selective disproportionation of toluene where benzene is coproduced in the manufacture of a paraxylene-rich xylenes stream.

Uses

  • Today benzene is mainly used as an intermediate to make other chemicals.
  • Smaller amounts of benzene are used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, explosives, napalm and pesticides.
  • Benzene has been used as a basic research tool in a variety of experiments including analysis of a two-dimensional gas.
  • Benzene is primarily used as a solvent, as a starting material for the synthesis of other chemicals and as a gasoline additive.
  • Benzene is produced in large quantities from petroleum sources and is used for the chemical synthesis of ethyl benzene, phenol, cyclohexane and other substituted aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • It is used to make styrene, which is used to make plastics and polymers, and in the manufacturing process of nylon.

Market

  • Chemical industry is the main consumer of pure benzene, accounting for 71 per cent of the total consumption; light industry accounts for 2 per cent of the total consumption; pharmaceutical industry, 0.5 per cent; and others, 26.5 per cent.
  • Ethylbenzene is the largest chemical outlet for benzene at around 52% and nearly all is consumed in the production of styrene.
  • The second largest outlet for benzene, accounting for 19% of demand, is cumene which is nearly all consumed in phenol production with acetone formed as a coproduct.
  • Benzene demand throughout the world is dominated by the production of three derivatives: ethylbenzene, cumene and cyclohexane.

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