toluene (tōlˈyōēnˌ) [key] or methylbenzene mĕthˌəlbĕnˈzēn, C7H8, colorless liquid aromatic hydrocarbon that melts at - 95°C and boils at 110.8°C. It is insoluble in water but highly soluble in most organic solvents. Toluene is obtained from coal tar and petroleum by distillation. It is used as a solvent and as a starting material for the synthesis of many compounds, including dyes and explosives. When toluene is treated with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids (a process known as nitration), trinitrotoluene (TNT) is produced.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on toluene from Fact Monster:

  • methylbenzene - methylbenzene methylbenzene, IUPAC name for toluene.
  • aryl group - aryl group aryl group , in chemistry, group of atoms derived from benzene or from a benzene ...
  • coal tar - coal tar coal tar, product of the destructive distillation of bituminous coal. Coal tar can be ...
  • trinitrotoluene - trinitrotoluene trinitrotoluene or TNT, CH3C6H2(NO2)3, crystalline, aromatic compound that melts at ...
  • benzoic acid - benzoic acid benzoic acid , C6H5CO2H, crystalline solid organic acid that melts at 122°C and ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Organic Chemistry

Play Hangman

Play Poptropica

Play Quizzes

Play Tic Tac Toe