Phenol and Reactions of Phenol


Phenol is a type of organic compound. Phenol is a colorless, crystalline, deliquescent solid with a particular phenolic odor having melting point 41 ° C and boiling point 182 ° C. It is sparingly soluble in water developing pink solution at room temperature however completely soluble over 68.5 ° C.


It has a mildly sweet scent that could remind you of somewhere that’s sterilized, such as a hospital room. In restricted quantities, it’s readily available for a number of medical and health-related usages. It is used as a disinfectant in hospitals and washrooms.

Reactions of Phenol

Phenol shows two types of reactions.

  1. Reactions due to– OH group.
  2. Reactions as a result of the benzene ring

Phenols are much less reactive to nucleophiles so nucleophilic attack is less favored, i.e., – OH is hard to change while the electrophilic attack on the ring is easy.

Reactions of Phenol Because Of – OH Group
  • Salt Formation

Phenol reacts with alkalies to create salts, e.g.


  • Ester Formation

Phenol reacts with acetyl chloride in the visibility of a base to form the ester.


  • Reduction with Zn

Phenol undergoes a reduction reaction when heated up with Zinc dirt and also forms benzene. The hydrogen ion formed accepts electrons from zinc and exchanges hydrogen radicals.

Later the bond in between carbon and oxygen breaks as well as produces phenyl radical, which combines with hydrogen radical to form Benzene.


Reactions of Phenol as A Result of Benzene Ring
  • Nitration

Phenols upon treatment with dilute nitric acid go through nitration at low temperature (298 K) to provide a blend of ortho and also para nitrophenols.

When phenol is treated with concentrated nitric acid, the nitration causes the formation of 2, 4, 6-trinitrophenol (commonly called picric acid).


  • Sulphonation

Phenol reacts with conc. H2SO4 at standard room temperature level producing ortho as well as para hydroxy benzene sulphonic acids.


  • Halogenation

When phenols are treated with bromine in the presence of a solvent of reduced polarity like CHCl3 at a lower temperature, monobromophenols are formed. When phenol is treated with bromine water, a white precipitate of 2, 4, 6-tribromophenol is formed.


  • Hydrogenation

When hydrogen is passed through phenol at 150 ° C in the presence of Ni catalyst it gives cyclohexanol. The discerning hydrogenation of phenol is an attractive process to create cyclohexanol that is an important standard raw chemical in the chemical market and industry.

Phenol is reacted with hydrogen in contact with a nickel catalyst, where the concentration of hydrogen is managed, and/or wherein regulated quantities of water are added in the reaction mixture, to create cyclohexanol, or preferably cyclohexanol plus cyclohexanone.


  • Reaction with formaldehyde

Phenol reacts with formaldehyde (methanal) in the presence of acid or alkali to give hydroxy benzyl alcohol which in more reaction with various other phenol molecules generates a polymer called Bakelite.