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Through phenols you understand combinations which contain one or more hydroxyl groups directly connected to the benzoic nucleus. Phenols can be similar to tertiary alcohols through the fact that they also contain the hydroxyl group connected to a carbon atom (which is not bound to a hydrogen atom).
After the number of hydroxyl groups in the molecule, you can distinguish:
- phenols with a single hydroxyl group, meaning mono hydroxyl phenols
- phenols with more than one hydroxyl groups in the molecule, meaning poly hydroxyl phenols
Mono hydroxyl phenols have not isomers because they are produced by de mono substitution of the benzoic nucleus. Containing more than one hydroxyl groups bound in different positions to the aromatic nucleus, the poly hydroxyl phenols exist under the form of isomers. The denomination of phenols is based on the fact that they are considered the results of the substitution of the aromatic hydrocarbons. Properly said, C6H5-OH is called hydroxybenzene.
Hydroxybenzene, C6H5-OH, is normally called phenol and is the simplest mono hydroxyl phenol. His homologue is hydroxytoluene, (CH3)C6H4OH, at which you can distinguish 3 isomers, after the relative position of the substitutes at the aromatic nucleus: o-cresol, m-cresol and p-cresol.
Phenols are, normally, solid substances (at the usual temperature), with a pervading and unpleasant smell. Phenols are a little soluble in water, but completely soluble in organic solvents.
|+ CH3-Cl HCl||+|
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