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Absorption and fluorescence emission spectra


Colorless or white acicular crystals with a characteristic odor. Phenol was discovered in coal-tar by Runge. It is used in the production of dyes and resins. Phenol is also used as an disinfectant and fungicide; it has been added to paints and glues as a preservative and odorant.

Synonyms and Related Terms

carbolic acid; phenylic acid; phenic acid; benzophenol; hydroxybenzene; oxybenzene; monohydroxybenzene

Chemical structure


Other Properties

Soluble in water, ethanol, chloroform, ether, glycerol, carbon disulfide, oils, dilute alkalis.

Composition C6H5OH
CAS 108-95-2
Melting Point 43
Density 1.071
Molecular Weight mol. wt.=94.11
Refractive Index 1.5425
Boiling Point 182

Hazards and Safety

Highly toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption. LD50 = 530 mg/kg

It is readily absorbed through the skin and causes severe burns.

Combustible. Flash point = 79 (174 F)

Mallinckrodt Baker: MSDS

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979