PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Toluene. Sample bottle containing toluene, an important organic chemical. Toluene (or methyl benzene) is a colourless, refractive liquid with a characteristic smell. It is a powerful organic solvent, and is used as a raw material in the manufacture of caprolactam, phenol and many dyes. It is produced from petroleum fractions which are rich in napthenes by the process of hydroforming. It is also easily nitrated, one derivative being 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, better known as TNT, the famous explosive. Sulphonated toluene is an intermediate in the formation of saccharin.
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