Benzyl alcohol

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A clear, colorless, liquid. Benzyl alcohol is used as a solvent for dyes, Gelatin, Casein, Cellulose acetate, waxes, and Shellac. It is also used for mounting microscope slides and as a reagent in the developing baths for color movie films. In conservation, benzyl alcohol has been added to gelled soaps as a Wetting agent.

Chemical structure

Benzyl alcohol.jpg

Synonyms and Related Terms

alpha-hydroxytoluene; benzoyl alcohol; phenyl methanol; phenyl carbinol; benzenemethanol


  • Combustible.
  • Skin contact causes irritation.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS
  • EPA lists benzyl alcohol as hazardous waste due to ignitability; concentrations over 10% must be disposed of appropriately

Physical and Chemical Properties

Miscible with ethanol, ether, chloroform. Slightly soluble in water.

Composition C6H5CH2OH
CAS 100-51-6
Melting Point -15.19 C
Density 1.040-1.050 g/ml
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 108.1
Refractive Index 1.5385-1.5405
Boiling Point 204.7 C

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 97
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983
  • Richard C. Wolbers, Nanette T. Sterman, Chris Stavroudis, Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings, J.Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 1990
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Conservation Materials Ltd., Catalog
  • Teri Hensick, contributed information, 1998

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