Toluene Lab Grade, 99.8% Purity


Toluene Lab Grade 99.8% Purity

Toluene, also called methylbenzene is a colorless liquid with a flash point 40 °F.  It is Less dense than water (7.2 lb / gal) and insoluble in water. Hence floats on water.   This is an aromatic hydrocarbon that has a smell you would associate with paint thinners.  It is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon found in crude oil.  Toluene is volatile, flammable, and evaporates quickly.

Toluene is the simplest member of the class toluenes consisting of a benzene core which bears a single methyl substituent. It is a non-polar solventDue to the presence of the methyl group, toluene is more reactive compared to benzene alone in the presence of electrophiles.


Chemical Formula: C6H5CH3
Molecular Weight: 92.141
CAS Registry Number: 108-88-3
Appearance Colorless Liquid
Odor: sweet, pungent, benzene-like
Density 0.8623 g/ml
Boiling Point: 110.60C/231.08F
Solubility in water: 0.519 g/L (25 °C)
GHS Pictograms: GHS02: FlammableGHS08: Health hazardGHS07: Exclamation mark
GHS Signal Word: Danger
GHS Hazard Statements: H225, H304, H315, H336, H361d, H373
GHS Precautionary Statements  P210, P240, P301+P310, P302+P352, P308+P313, P314, P403+P233
UN Identification Number: 1294
Proper Shipping Name: Toluene
Transport Hazard Class: 3
Packing Group: II
DOT Placard: Flammable liquids (3)


What is Toluene?

Toluene is a colorless, volatile, and flammable liquid aromatic hydrocarbon. It has a benzene ring substituted with a methyl group (-CH3), making its chemical formula C6H5CH3. Toluene is also known by other names such as methylbenzene or phenylmethane. It has a sweet, pungent odor and is miscible with many organic solvents but only slightly soluble in water.

How Is Toluene Produced?

Toluene is primarily produced as a byproduct of the petroleum refining process, specifically during the catalytic reforming of naphtha fractions. The main steps involved in the production of toluene include:

  1. Naphtha Fractionation: The process begins with the distillation of crude oil to separate it into various fractions, including naphtha. Naphtha is a mixture of hydrocarbons with carbon chain lengths typically ranging from C5 to C12.

  2. Catalytic Reforming: The naphtha fraction undergoes catalytic reforming, which is a process that involves subjecting the hydrocarbons to high temperature and pressure in the presence of a catalyst. The catalyst, often composed of platinum or platinum-rhenium on an alumina support, promotes various reactions such as dehydrogenation, isomerization, and cyclization.

  3. Aromatic Hydrocarbon Formation: During catalytic reforming, some of the naphtha molecules undergo dehydrogenation and cyclization reactions, leading to the formation of aromatic hydrocarbons, including benzene, toluene, and xylene (BTX). Toluene is specifically formed through the methylation of benzene, where a methyl group (-CH3) is added to the benzene ring.

  4. Separation and Purification: After catalytic reforming, the product stream is subjected to fractionation to separate the various components, including toluene, from other hydrocarbons. Distillation and other separation techniques are used to isolate and purify toluene from the mixture.

  5. Further Processing: The purified toluene can undergo further processing, such as hydrogenation to produce other chemicals like benzene or mixed xylenes. Toluene itself is used as a feedstock in the production of chemicals such as benzene, toluene diisocyanate (TDI), and polyurethanes.

Overall, the production of toluene is closely linked to the refining of crude oil, with catalytic reforming being the primary method for its synthesis from petroleum-derived feedstocks. Other sources of toluene include coal tar and certain biomass conversion processes, although these are less common compared to petroleum-based production.

What is Toluene used for?

Toluene is a versatile chemical compound with numerous industrial and commercial applications. Some of the common uses of toluene include:
  1. Solvent: Toluene is primarily used as a solvent in various industries, including paint manufacturing, coatings, adhesives, and printing. It effectively dissolves other substances, making it valuable in these applications.
  2. Fuel Additive: Toluene is used as an octane booster in gasoline, improving its performance and reducing knocking in internal combustion engines. It is sometimes added to racing fuels and aviation fuels for this purpose.
  3. Production of Chemicals: Toluene serves as a precursor in the production of various chemicals, including benzene, which is used in the manufacture of plastics, synthetic fibers, and rubber. It's also used in the synthesis of toluene diisocyanate (TDI), which is a precursor to polyurethane foams.
  4. Rubber and Tire Manufacturing: Toluene is used in the production of rubber and tires as a solvent and as a component of rubber adhesives.
  5. Ink Manufacturing: Toluene is used as a solvent in the formulation of printing inks for newspapers, magazines, and packaging materials.
  6. Cleaning Products: It's used in some cleaning products, such as degreasers and spot removers, due to its excellent solvent properties.
  7. Nail Polish and Nail Polish Removers: Toluene is used as a solvent in nail polish and nail polish removers to dissolve and suspend other ingredients.
  8. Dye Production: Toluene is used in the production of dyes and as a solvent in the dyeing process for textiles and leather.
  9. Medicinal Uses: In some cases, toluene is used in pharmaceutical manufacturing processes as a solvent or as a precursor to certain drugs.
These are just a few examples of the diverse range of applications for toluene. Its versatility and effectiveness as a solvent make it an essential chemical in many industries. However,

Is Toluene Dangerous?

Toluene poses several potential dangers to human health and the environment, especially when handled improperly or in high concentrations. Some of the key dangers associated with toluene include:
  1. Health Effects: Toluene vapor can be harmful if inhaled in high concentrations over a prolonged period. Short-term exposure to high levels of toluene vapor can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, confusion, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Long-term exposure to toluene may lead to more serious health issues, including damage to the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, and respiratory system.
  2. Flammability: Toluene is highly flammable and can form explosive mixtures with air. It has a low flash point, which means it can ignite easily in the presence of a spark, flame, or heat source. Handling toluene near open flames, hot surfaces, or other ignition sources can result in fires or explosions.
  3. Environmental Hazards: Toluene can contaminate soil, water, and air if released into the environment. It is volatile and can evaporate quickly from spills or during use, leading to air pollution. Toluene is also persistent in the environment and can bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms, potentially causing harm to ecosystems.
  4. Occupational Hazards: Workers in industries where toluene is used, such as paint manufacturing, printing, and chemical production, may be at risk of exposure to high levels of toluene vapor. Proper safety measures, including ventilation, personal protective equipment, and training on safe handling practices, are essential to minimize occupational exposure and prevent health issues.
  5. Reproductive and Developmental Effects: There is evidence to suggest that exposure to toluene may have adverse effects on reproductive health and fetal development. Pregnant women exposed to high levels of toluene may be at increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or birth defects in their offspring.
  6. Addiction Potential: Toluene abuse, primarily through intentional inhalation of its vapors for recreational purposes (known as "huffing" or "sniffing"), poses significant health risks, including addiction, neurological damage, and sudden death due to cardiac arrest or asphyxiation.
Given these dangers, it is important to handle toluene with care, follow safety guidelines and regulations, and take appropriate precautions to minimize exposure to protect both human health and the environment.

What Gaskets are recommended for Toluene?

Toluene is a chemical solvent that can have compatibility issues with certain gasket materials, especially over prolonged exposure or at elevated temperatures. Some gasket materials that are generally considered compatible with toluene include:
  1. PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene): PTFE gaskets, commonly known as Teflon gaskets, are highly resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including toluene. They offer excellent chemical resistance and can withstand high temperatures, making them suitable for many toluene applications.
  2. Viton (Fluoroelastomer): Viton gaskets are known for their excellent chemical resistance and can often withstand exposure to toluene. They are commonly used in applications requiring resistance to fuels, oils, and solvents.
  3. Fluorocarbon (FKM): FKM gaskets are known for their exceptional chemical resistance, high temperature stability, and resistance to oils and fuels. They are often used in applications where exposure to toluene and other aggressive chemicals is expected, such as in the automotive, aerospace, and chemical processing industries.

Is Toluene Polar or Nonpolar?

Toluene is considered to be a nonpolar molecule.
The reason for this is its symmetrical molecular structure. Toluene consists of a benzene ring (which is a hexagonal ring of carbon atoms with alternating single and double bonds) with a methyl group (-CH3) attached. The bonds between carbon and hydrogen in the methyl group are nonpolar, and the carbon-carbon bonds in the benzene ring are relatively nonpolar due to the similar electronegativities of carbon and hydrogen.
Because of this symmetrical arrangement and the similar electronegativities of the atoms involved, the overall distribution of charge in the molecule is relatively uniform, resulting in a nonpolar molecule. As a nonpolar solvent, toluene is often used to dissolve nonpolar substances and is immiscible with polar solvents such as water

Toluene Lab Grade, 99.8% Purity

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