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Toluene vs. Xylene: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 24, 2023
Toluene is a monosubstituted benzene derivative with a single methyl group, while xylene is a disubstituted benzene with two methyl groups.

Key Differences

Toluene, chemically known as methylbenzene, is a hydrocarbon with the formula C₇H₈, featuring a benzene ring with a single methyl group. Xylene, on the other hand, is a group of three isomers (ortho-, meta-, and para-xylene), each with the formula C₈H₁₀, having two methyl groups attached to the benzene ring. The position of these methyl groups varies in each xylene isomer.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023
Toluene is a colorless, water-insoluble liquid with a distinctive smell. It has a boiling point of about 110.6°C. Xylene, also a colorless liquid, has a sweet odor and is slightly greasier than toluene. The boiling points of xylene isomers range from 138 to 144°C, depending on the isomer.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023
Toluene is widely used as an industrial solvent, particularly in the manufacture of paints, thinners, and adhesives. It's also a precursor in synthesizing other chemicals. Xylene finds its major uses in the production of terephthalic acid, dimethyl terephthalate (key precursors for making PET plastic), and in the laboratory as a solvent.
Huma Saeed
Dec 24, 2023
Both chemicals can affect the nervous system if inhaled in large quantities, but toluene is generally considered less toxic than xylene. Long-term exposure to xylene can lead to significant health problems including liver and kidney damage.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 24, 2023
Both toluene and xylene are regulated substances, with specific guidelines for their handling and disposal due to their volatile nature and potential health risks. They are both classified as hazardous air pollutants under U.S. environmental regulations.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 24, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula

C₇H₈
C₈H₁₀ (Isomers: o-, m-, p-xylene)
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

Methyl Groups

One
Two
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

Boiling Point

110.6°C
138-144°C (varies by isomer)
Huma Saeed
Dec 24, 2023

Main Uses

Industrial solvent, paint manufacturing
PET plastic precursor, solvent
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

Health Risks

Neurotoxic in high exposure
More toxic, affects liver and kidneys
Harlon Moss
Dec 24, 2023
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Toluene and Xylene Definitions

Toluene

"Toluene serves as a precursor in the synthesis of various chemicals."
Toluene is often used in the chemical industry to produce other compounds.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 04, 2023

Xylene

"Xylene, a colorless liquid, is known for its sweet odor."
The sweet smell in the paint shop was due to xylene.
Huma Saeed
Dec 04, 2023

Toluene

"In its pure form, toluene is a clear, water-insoluble liquid."
Toluene was separated as a clear layer above the water.
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

Xylene

"In industry, xylene is used in the production of PET plastics."
Xylene is a key raw material in making plastic bottles.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 04, 2023

Toluene

"Toluene is a common ingredient in paint thinners."
He used toluene to thin the oil paint for his artwork.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 04, 2023

Xylene

"Xylene is a mixture of three structural isomers used as a solvent in the paint industry."
Xylene was the primary solvent in the varnish.
Janet White
Dec 04, 2023

Toluene

"Toluene is a colorless, aromatic hydrocarbon used as an industrial solvent."
Toluene's ability to dissolve paints makes it valuable in the paint industry.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 04, 2023

Xylene

"Xylene's chemical structure consists of a benzene ring with two methyl groups."
The lab experiment focused on the reactions of xylene's methyl groups.
Janet White
Dec 04, 2023

Toluene

"Toluene is a benzene derivative with a methyl group, known for its distinctive smell."
The sharp smell in the laboratory was due to toluene.
Janet White
Dec 04, 2023

Xylene

Any of three colorless flammable isomeric benzene derivatives, C8H10, obtained from wood and coal tar.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Toluene

A colorless flammable aromatic liquid, C7H8, obtained from coal tar or petroleum and used in aviation fuel and other high-octane fuels, in dyestuffs, explosives, and as a solvent for gums and lacquers. Also called methylbenzene.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Xylene

A mixture of xylene isomers used as a solvent in making lacquers and rubber cement and as an aviation fuel.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Toluene

(organic compound) A colourless, inflammable liquid hydrocarbon, methylbenzene, CH3.C6H5, used as a solvent, in high-octane fuels and in the production of many chemical compounds.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Xylene

(chemistry) Any of a group of three isomeric aromatic hydrocarbons, found in coal and wood tar.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Toluene

A hydrocarbon, C6H5.CH3, of the aromatic series, homologous with benzene, and obtained as a light mobile colorless liquid, by distilling tolu balsam, coal tar, etc.; - called also methyl benzene, phenyl methane, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Xylene

Any of a group of three metameric hydrocarbons of the aromatic series, found in coal and wood tar, and so named because found in crude wood spirit. They are colorless, oily, inflammable liquids, C6H4.(CH3)2, being dimethyl benzenes, and are called respectively orthoxylene, metaxylene, and paraxylene. Called also xylol.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Toluene

A colorless flammable liquid obtained from petroleum or coal tar; used as a solvent for gums and lacquers and in high-octane fuels
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Xylene

A colorless flammable volatile liquid hydrocarbon used as a solvent
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 30, 2023

Xylene

"Xylene is a potent solvent, often used in thinning paints and varnishes."
The painter used xylene to adjust the consistency of his varnish.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 04, 2023

FAQs

How is toluene produced?

Toluene is typically produced in the refining of crude oil and as a byproduct in the production of coke from coal.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

What are the main uses of toluene?

Toluene is used as a solvent in paints, coatings, and adhesives, and as a precursor in chemical synthesis.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

Is toluene dangerous?

Toluene can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities, affecting the nervous system.
Harlon Moss
Dec 24, 2023

Is xylene dangerous?

Xylene is toxic and can affect the liver and kidneys with long-term exposure.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

What is xylene?

Xylene is a disubstituted benzene compound, used in solvents and as a precursor for PET plastics.
Huma Saeed
Dec 24, 2023

What are the main uses of xylene?

Xylene is used as a solvent in the paint industry and in the production of PET plastics and terephthalic acid.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

Can xylene be found in consumer products?

Yes, xylene is in some paints, varnishes, and cleaning agents.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

How does toluene impact the environment?

Toluene can contribute to air and water pollution if not handled properly.
Janet White
Dec 24, 2023

What are the physical properties of toluene?

Toluene is a colorless, water-insoluble liquid with a distinctive odor.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 24, 2023

How does xylene impact the environment?

Xylene can pollute air and water sources and is a hazardous air pollutant.
Janet White
Dec 24, 2023

What is toluene?

Toluene is a monosubstituted benzene derivative used as a solvent.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

How is xylene produced?

Xylene is produced from the refining of crude oil and coal tar.
Harlon Moss
Dec 24, 2023

Can toluene be found in consumer products?

Yes, toluene is found in paints, nail polish, and adhesives.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

What are the storage requirements for toluene?

Toluene should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from heat sources.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

What are the physical properties of xylene?

Xylene is a colorless, slightly greasy liquid with a sweet odor.
Harlon Moss
Dec 24, 2023

Can toluene be recycled?

Yes, toluene can be recycled and reused in industrial processes.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

Can xylene be recycled?

Xylene can also be recycled in certain industrial applications.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

What are the storage requirements for xylene?

Xylene must be stored similarly to toluene, in a cool, dry place away from flames and heat.
Harlon Moss
Dec 24, 2023

How is toluene exposure treated?

Toluene exposure is treated with fresh air and medical attention for severe cases.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023

How is xylene exposure treated?

Xylene exposure requires fresh air and immediate medical attention if symptoms persist.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 24, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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