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Benzene vs. Phenol: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 17, 2023
Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon with a six-carbon ring, while phenol is benzene with a hydroxyl group (-OH) attached.

Key Differences

Benzene is a simple aromatic hydrocarbon, consisting of a ring of six carbon atoms with alternating double bonds. Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is a derivative of benzene, with one hydrogen atom replaced by a hydroxyl group (-OH).
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023
Benzene is used as a starting material in the synthesis of many chemicals, and is known for its ring-like structure. Phenol is an aromatic compound too, but its chemical properties are influenced by the hydroxyl group, making it acidic.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023
The presence of the hydroxyl group in phenol increases its reactivity compared to benzene. While benzene is a nonpolar solvent, phenol's hydroxyl group makes it somewhat polar.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2023
Benzene is mainly used in the production of polymers, plastics, and synthetic fibers. Phenol has antiseptic properties and is used in the production of resins and in pharmaceuticals.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023
In terms of health risks, both benzene and phenol are toxic, but benzene is particularly known for its carcinogenic properties. Phenol, while toxic, is used in lower concentrations in some medical and cosmetic products.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Basic Structure

Six-carbon ring with alternating double bonds
Benzene ring with a hydroxyl group (-OH)
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Chemical Properties

Nonpolar, less reactive
Somewhat polar, more reactive due to -OH group
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Uses

Production of plastics, synthetic fibers
Antiseptic, production of resins, pharmaceuticals
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Reactivity

Less reactive
More reactive due to hydroxyl group
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

Health Risks

Carcinogenic
Toxic, but used in lower concentrations for medical purposes
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023
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Benzene and Phenol Definitions

Benzene

A colorless, flammable liquid hydrocarbon.
Benzene is a key component in the manufacture of plastics.
Harlon Moss
Dec 01, 2023

Phenol

Used in the manufacture of resins and plastics.
Many industrial resins are derived from phenol.
Sara Rehman
Dec 01, 2023

Benzene

An aromatic compound forming a ring structure.
The unique ring structure of benzene is fundamental in organic chemistry.
Sara Rehman
Dec 01, 2023

Phenol

Also known as carbolic acid, it's a white crystalline solid.
Phenol in its solid form appears as white crystals.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Benzene

A precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, and dyes.
Many dyes are synthesized using benzene as a starting material.
Sara Rehman
Dec 01, 2023

Phenol

An aromatic organic compound with a hydroxyl group.
Phenol is often used as an antiseptic in medical applications.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 01, 2023

Benzene

Known for its carcinogenic properties.
Exposure to benzene is a significant health risk in industrial settings.
Sara Rehman
Dec 01, 2023

Phenol

Serves as a precursor in pharmaceuticals.
Phenol is used in synthesizing various drugs.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Benzene

Used as a solvent in various industrial processes.
Benzene is often used as a solvent due to its nonpolar properties.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 01, 2023

Phenol

Toxic, but used in lower concentrations for certain applications.
Despite its toxicity, phenol is used in diluted form in some cosmetics.
Harlon Moss
Dec 01, 2023

Benzene

A colorless, flammable, toxic, liquid aromatic hydrocarbon, C6H6, derived from petroleum and used in or to manufacture a wide variety of chemical products, including DDT, detergents, insecticides, and motor fuels. Also called benzol.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Phenol

A caustic, poisonous, white crystalline compound, C6H6O, derived from benzene and used in resins, plastics, and pharmaceuticals and in dilute form as a disinfectant. Also called carbolic acid.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Benzene

(organic compound) An aromatic hydrocarbon of formula C6H6 whose structure consists of a ring of alternate single and double bonds.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Phenol

Any of a class of aromatic organic compounds having at least one hydroxyl group attached directly to the benzene ring.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Benzene

Sometimes used in place of the phenyl group.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Benzene

A volatile, very inflammable liquid, C6H6, contained in the naphtha produced by the destructive distillation of coal, from which it is separated by fractional distillation. The name is sometimes applied also to the impure commercial product or benzole, and also, but rarely, to a similar mixed product of petroleum.
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

Benzene

A colorless liquid hydrocarbon; highly inflammable; carcinogenic; the simplest of the aromatic compounds
Sara Rehman
Nov 30, 2023

FAQs

Why is benzene hazardous?

Benzene is carcinogenic and can cause serious health issues with long-term exposure.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Can benzene and phenol be used interchangeably?

No, due to their different chemical properties and reactivity, they have distinct uses.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

What makes phenol different from benzene?

The hydroxyl group in phenol makes it more reactive and gives it different chemical properties.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Are benzene and phenol naturally occurring?

Benzene is found in crude oil, while phenol is usually synthesized, though it can occur in nature.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

What products contain phenol?

Phenol is found in some antiseptics, disinfectants, and cosmetic products.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

How are benzene and phenol produced?

Benzene is extracted from petroleum, while phenol is usually synthesized from benzene.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

What is phenol?

Phenol is an aromatic compound with a hydroxyl group, used in antiseptics and resin production.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 17, 2023

Can benzene and phenol cause environmental harm?

Yes, both can be harmful to the environment if not handled properly.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

How is benzene used in the pharmaceutical industry?

Benzene serves as a precursor in the synthesis of various drugs.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023

What is benzene?

Benzene is a colorless, aromatic hydrocarbon, often used as a solvent and in chemical synthesis.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Is phenol safe for use in medical applications?

In diluted form, phenol is safe and effective for certain medical applications.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023

What are the health risks of phenol exposure?

Phenol can cause irritation and burns; chronic exposure can have more severe effects.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

What are common uses of benzene?

Benzene is used in the manufacture of plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, and rubber.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 17, 2023

Is exposure to benzene common?

Benzene exposure is common in industrial settings but should be minimized.
Sara Rehman
Dec 17, 2023

Are there safer alternatives to benzene and phenol?

Safer alternatives are available for some applications, but these compounds are still widely used due to their unique properties.
Janet White
Dec 17, 2023

What precautions are necessary when handling benzene?

Proper ventilation and protective gear are essential due to its toxicity and flammability.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

Can phenol be used in skin care products?

In very low concentrations, phenol can be used in certain skincare treatments.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

Is phenol an acid or a base?

Phenol is acidic due to its hydroxyl group.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

How does phenol interact with other chemicals?

Phenol can react with other compounds, especially bases, due to its acidic nature.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023

Can benzene be detected by smell?

Benzene has a sweet odor, but it should not be inhaled as a detection method.
Harlon Moss
Dec 17, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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