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Cyclohexanol vs. Phenol: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 31, 2023
Cyclohexanol is a secondary alcohol with a saturated six-membered ring structure, used in producing nylon. Phenol is an aromatic alcohol with a hydroxyl group attached to a benzene ring, used in resins and plastics.

Key Differences

Cyclohexanol features a six-membered ring made of carbon atoms, with a saturated, non-aromatic structure. Phenol, on the other hand, consists of a benzene ring, making it aromatic, with a hydroxyl group attached to one of the carbon atoms in the ring.
Cyclohexanol is a colorless solid at room temperature and has a camphor-like odor. Phenol is also a colorless or white solid, but it is characterized by its distinct, sweet, and acrid odor.
Cyclohexanol is less reactive compared to phenol due to its saturated structure. Phenol exhibits higher reactivity, particularly due to its aromatic ring, which undergoes electrophilic substitution reactions more readily.
Cyclohexanol is primarily used as a precursor in the production of caprolactam, an important ingredient in the manufacture of nylon. Phenol has broader applications, including in the production of plastics, resins, explosives, and pharmaceuticals.
Cyclohexanol has moderate toxicity and requires careful handling to avoid skin and eye irritation. Phenol is more toxic and corrosive, necessitating stringent safety measures during handling due to its ability to cause severe burns and systemic toxicity.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Structure

Saturated six-membered ring.
Aromatic ring with a hydroxyl group.

Physical State

Colorless solid, camphor-like odor.
Colorless or white solid, sweet odor.


Less reactive, saturated structure.
More reactive, aromatic structure.

Primary Uses

Nylon production precursor.
Plastics, resins, explosives.

Toxicity and Handling

Moderately toxic.
Highly toxic and corrosive.

Cyclohexanol and Phenol Definitions


It is a saturated cyclic compound.
Cyclohexanol's saturated structure affects its reactivity.


Phenol is an aromatic compound with a hydroxyl group.
Phenol is often used in the manufacture of resins.


Cyclohexanol is a secondary alcohol with a six-membered ring.
Cyclohexanol is used in the synthesis of nylon.


It is known for its sweet, acrid odor.
The distinct odor indicated the presence of phenol.


Cyclohexanol is used in industrial applications.
The laboratory used cyclohexanol for chemical synthesis.


Phenol has antiseptic properties.
Phenol was historically used in medical disinfectants.


Cyclohexanol has moderate toxicity.
Safety precautions are necessary when handling cyclohexanol.


It is used in various industrial applications.
Phenol is a key ingredient in plastic production.


It appears as a colorless solid.
The cyclohexanol was stored as a solid in the container.


Phenol is highly toxic and corrosive.
Handling phenol requires extreme caution due to its toxicity.


(organic compound) The alicyclic alcohol derived from cyclohexane by replacement of a hydrogen atom with a hydroxyl group


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.


A colorless oily alcohol that smells like camphor


What is cyclohexanol?

Cyclohexanol is a saturated secondary alcohol with a cyclic structure.

Is phenol used in disinfectants?

Yes, phenol has historical use in antiseptic and disinfectant products.

Is cyclohexanol flammable?

Yes, cyclohexanol is flammable and should be handled with care.

How is cyclohexanol produced?

Cyclohexanol is produced by the hydrogenation of phenol.

What are the uses of cyclohexanol?

Cyclohexanol is mainly used in producing nylon and as a solvent.

Is cyclohexanol aromatic?

No, cyclohexanol is a saturated, non-aromatic compound.

What is the boiling point of cyclohexanol?

The boiling point of cyclohexanol is around 161°C.

What is phenol?

Phenol is an aromatic alcohol with a hydroxyl group on a benzene ring.

Are phenol and cyclohexanol soluble in water?

Both have limited solubility in water, with phenol being more soluble.

What is the odor of phenol?

Phenol has a distinct, sweet, and acrid odor.

Does phenol react with other chemicals?

Yes, phenol readily reacts, especially in electrophilic substitution.

How should cyclohexanol be stored?

Cyclohexanol should be stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area.

Is phenol found in nature?

Yes, phenol occurs naturally in some organic materials.

Can phenol be used in pharmaceuticals?

Yes, phenol is used in some pharmaceutical applications.

Can phenol cause burns?

Yes, phenol is corrosive and can cause severe skin burns.

What safety measures are needed for cyclohexanol?

Proper ventilation, protective equipment, and fire safety are necessary.

Can phenol be used in cosmetics?

Phenol is used in certain cosmetic products, albeit with restrictions.

Is cyclohexanol reactive?

Cyclohexanol is less reactive than phenol, due to its saturated nature.

What are the environmental impacts of phenol?

Phenol can be toxic to aquatic life and must be disposed of properly.

Is cyclohexanol toxic?

Cyclohexanol is moderately toxic, with irritant properties.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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