Jump to navigation Jump to search
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



  • 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)
  • Fisher Scientific: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

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

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

Resources and Citations

  • 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