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Physical Properties of Benzene

Benzene is the parent hydrocarbon and from which all aromatic compounds can be derived.

It was Kekule (1865) who first recognized that all aromatic compounds contained at least six carbon atoms. He proved that the simplest aromatic compound having six carbon atoms is Benzene. The structure of Benzene was proved by Kekule as a cyclic planer six carbon unit structure with alternate single and double bonds--each carbon atom is attached to one another atom by covalent bond. Since all the aromatic compounds are derived from benzene, they are also called as Benzenoids or Benzenoid compounds.

benzene structure

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Benzene Properties

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  1. Benzene is a colorless liquid.
  2. Benzene is soluble in organic solvents but immiscible in water.
  3. It is an aromatic compound so it has a typical aromatic odor. (Aroma in Greek means pleasant smelling).
  4. Benzene is highly inflammable and burns with sooty flame.
  5. Benzene also shows resonance that is it can exist in different forms based on the positioning of double bond and this property of benzene makes it stable. That is why Benzene does not undergo addition reactions readily but it undergoes substitution reactions.
  6. Benzene is lighter than water having density of 0.87g cm-3
  7. Benzene has high melting and moderate boiling point. (Melting point 5.5°C, boiling point 80.5°C). For homologous series it increases with the increasing molecular mass because of the increase in magnitude of Vander Waal’s forces of attraction.
  8. All the Carbon- carbon bonds in benzene are of same length which is equal to 140pm. And bond angle is of 120° with all Carbons having sp2 hybridization
Most of the chemical as well as the physical properties of benzene and other aromatic hydrocarbons are due to delocalized pi-electrons which are resent in the ring. These electrons are represented by a ring in the structure. Due to delocalization of pi electrons ring is planar in order to allow cyclic overlap of p-orbital. Stability of aromatic ring is attributed to resonance.

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