Phenol / Carbolic Acid

Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is an aromatic organic compound with the molecular formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystallinesolid that is volatile. The molecule consists of a phenyl group (−C6H5) bonded to a hydroxyl group (−OH). It is mildly acidic and requires careful handling due to its propensity to cause chemical burns.

Phenol was first extracted from coal tar, but today is produced on a large scale (about 7 billion kg/year) from petroleum. It is an important industrial commodity as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds. It is primarily used to synthesize plastics and related materials. Phenol and its chemical derivatives are essential for production of polycarbonates, epoxies, Bakelite, nylon, detergents, herbicides such as phenoxy herbicides, and numerous pharmaceutical drugs.

Parameter Value

Chemical formula


Molar mass

94.11 g·mol−1


Transparent crystalline solid


Sweet and tarry


1.07 g/cm3

Melting point

40.5 °C (104.9 °F; 313.6 K)

Boiling point

181.7 °C (359.1 °F; 454.8 K)

Solubility in water

8.3 g/100 mL (20 °C)

Vapor pressure

0.4 mmHg (20 °C)

Acidity (pKa)

9.95 (in water),

29.1 (in acetonitrile)

UV-vis (λmax)

270.75 nm

Dipole moment

1.224 D

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