Toluene, the common name according to IUPAC, methylbenzene, phenylmethane, is a colorless, characteristically smelling, volatile liquid similar to benzene in many of its properties. Toluene is an aromatic hydrocarbon; it often replaces the poisonous benzene as a solvent. It is also found in petrol, among other things.

Toluene is used as a solvent used for paints, printing inks, varnishes and adhesives. It is a basic chemical for chemical synthesis.

Toluene is stable and relatively inert under normal conditions. It reacts in the same way as phenol and benzene. Toluene affects many plastics and is therefore usually stored in glass or metal containers. Oxidation (for example with an acidic potassium permanganate solution) can convert toluene via benzyl alcohol and benzaldehyde into benzoic acid. Toluene mainly occurs in radical substitution reactions and electrophilic substitution reactions. Nucleophilic substitution reactions are less common.

It is also known to be used in permanent markers, but these are now produced largely free of toluene and xylene.

Depending on the measuring range, toluene is also used as a filling liquid in thermometers.

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