Benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals involved in manufacturing products we use on a daily basis, such as detergents, plastic and rubber.
Benzene's Structure and Formula
The chemical substance benzene might not be a household name, but we encounter it more often than we think. It's involved in various industrial processes to manufacture products we use on a daily basis, like plastics, dyes and glues, to mention a few. It's also a component of gasoline.
Benzene is used to manufacture glue and plastic bottles, and it is a component of gasoline.
Benzene is a liquid that is colorless and flammable, with a sweet and gasoline-like odor. While it is a useful chemical substance, we must remember it is a toxic chemical, and continuous exposure to it can have cancerous effects. This is because benzene is a carcinogen, which means it's a chemical or agent that can potentially cause cancer.
The chemical formula of benzene is C6H6, so it has six carbon (C) atoms and six hydrogen (H) atoms. Its chemical structure can be described as a hexagon ring with alternating double bonds, as shown in this illustration.
Three ways to draw the chemical structure of benzene
The chemical structure of benzene shows that for each carbon atom, there is one hydrogen atom. There are three ways to draw the chemical structure of benzene, which you can now see on screen. The illustration on the left (1), shows all the carbon and hydrogen atoms and how they are bonded together. The second illustration, (2), is also another way to draw benzene, where each edge of the hexagon corresponds to each carbon atom in the structure, and the hydrogen bonds are not shown. The third illustration, (3), shows that a circle can be drawn in place of these alternating double bonds.
Because of its chemical formula, C6H6, benzene is classified as a hydrocarbon, which is a compound that consists of only carbon and hydrogen atoms. Its structure and formula reveal benzene to be an aromatic hydrocarbon, which is defined as a compound that is composed of hydrogen and carbon that has alternating double bonds forming a ring.
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