LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Benzene, molecular model. Benzene is a natural component of crude oil and is widely used in the chemical industry as a solvent and as a reactant. Its use outside the chemical industry has been curtailed since it was found to be a strong carcinogen. It is an aromatic compound, one in which some of the bonding electrons are delocalised, that is, not associated with any one carbon-carbon bond. The delocalisation of electrons around the six carbon ring makes the molecule a regular planar hexagon in shape, and very stable. In this model, atoms are represented as spheres and are colour-coded: carbon (grey) and hydrogen (white).
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