Phenol is an oxygen substituted organic compound. Phenol is an insoluble organic compound in water. Phenol has a characteristic smell and can act as a germicidal. Preparing phenol, reactions of phenol, characteristics of phenol are sections you have to learn under phenol lesson in organic chemistry.
Phenol makes hydrogen bonds with water. Therefore phenol should be dissolved in water. Adding more phenol into the water will make separate layers of both substances.
Phenol dissolve in ether and ethanol very well.
We cannot synthesis phenol from benzene in a single step. We have to follow several steps to prepare phenol from benzene.
Phenol is ortho para activator and a weak acid. Electrons density of benzene ring in phenol is much higher than benzene. Therefore substitutions reactions of phenol occurs much easier than benzene. Phenol reactions and their characteristics of those reaction are explained below in detail. these reactions are useful, when you want to identify phenol from other organic compounds such as aliphatic alcohols and carboxylic acids. Those cases are highlighted in this tutorial.
Phenol reacts strong metals such as sodium, potassium to give hydrogen gas and sodium phenoxide. This indicates, phenol has acidic characteristics.
Phenol is a weaker acid than carbonic acid. Phenol reacts with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and give sodium phenoxide as the salt and water is also formed because this is an acid base reaction. This reaction can be used identify phenol from aliphatic alcohols because aliphatic alcohols do not react with aqueous NaOH. When this reaction occurs, temperature of the reaction mixture increases because this reaction is an exothermic reaction.
Phenol reacts with aqueous NaOH to give H2O and sodium phenoxide.
Phenol reacts with aqueous KOH to give H2O and potassium phenoxide.
Note: Phenol do not react with Na2CO3 or NaHCO3.
Phenol reacts with halogens easily and give precipitates. Also we don't need to add lewis acids such AlCl3.
2,4,6-tribromophenol is given as the product. Aqueous Br2 solution is yellow brown in colour. When phenol is added to the Br2(aq) solution, the white precipitate, 2,4,6-tribromophenol is formed.
Phenol and dilute nitric acid react to give a mixture of ortho-nitrophenol and para-nitrophenol. This shows phenol is a strong activator because we do not need concentrated HNO3 or heating.
Phenol does not react with sodium carbonate (Na2CO3). This is used to identify phenol and carboxylic acid because carboxylic acid reacts with sodium carbonate and emit carbon dioxide gas. So we can see, phenol is less acidic than carboxylic acid.
Phenol does not react with sodium carbonate (NaHCO3). This reaction is used to identify phenol and carboxylic acid because carboxylic acid reacts with sodium bicarbonate and emit carbon dioxide gas. From this reaction too, we can see, phenol is less acidic organic compound than carboxylic acid.
Phenol gives violet colour with ferric chloride(FeCl3). This reaction is characteristic of all compounds containing the group -C(OH)=C. This reaction can be used to identify phenol from other compounds.
Phenyl esters are given as products.
Phenol reacts with ethanoyl chloride to give phenyl ethanoate / phenyl acetate. Ethanoyl chloride is a acid chloride compound. In this reaction, a HCl molecule is eliminated.
Phenyl ester is given as the product while a carboxylic acid is also produced. To recover two products, chemical separation methods has to be used like distillation.
Sodium phenoxide has weak basic characteristics. So it reacts with dilute acids to give phenol again. Add dilute HCl to sodium phenoxide to take phenol. A two layers should be separated because phenol does not dissolve in water phase.