Xylene or dimethylbenzene is anaromatic hydrocarbon mixture consisting of a benzene ring with two methyl groups at various substituted positions. The three isomers of xylene have themolecular formula C8H10, also represented by the semi-structural formulaC6H4(CH3)2.
Xylene is a major petrochemical produced by catalytic reforming and also by coal carbonisation in the manufacture of coke fuel. It represents about 0.5–1% of crude oil (depending on the source), and is found in small quantities in gasoline and aircraft fuels. Xylenes are mainly produced as part of the BTX aromatics (benzene, toluene and xylenes) extracted from the product of catalytic reforming known as "reformate". The mixture is a slightly greasy, colorless liquid commonly encountered as a solvent.
Xylene exists in three isomeric forms. The isomers can be distinguished by the designations ortho- (o-), meta- (m-), and para- (p-), which specify to which carbon atoms (of the benzene ring) the two methyl groups are attached. By counting the carbon atoms around the ring starting from one of the ring carbons bonded to a methyl group, and counting towards the second methyl group, the o-isomer has the IUPAC name of 1,2-dimethylbenzene, the m-isomer is 1,3-dimethylbenzene, and the p-isomer is 1,4-dimethylbenzene. Of the three isomers, the p-isomer is the most industrially sought after since it can be oxidized toterephthalic acid.
Xylene, packing 170 kg/dr.
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