Aromatic hydrocarbons derive their names from the fact that a large number of compounds which were obtained from the natural sources has a pleasant odor (Greek aroma, fragrant smell). The term is now used to classify ring hydrocarbons structurally related to benzene, and these compounds are now more generally known as arenes. They were originally obtained from coal tar but petroleum has supplanted coal tar as the source of this important compounds which forms the basic material for many pharmaceuticals, dyes, plastics, explosives and a host other useful commodities.
The structure of Benzene:
The molecular formular of benzene, C6H6 would appear to suggest that benzene must be highly unsaturated and therefore very reactive, although in reality, neither it nor its related compound are olifinic in character. In fact benzene is remarkably stable, neither decolourising dilute tetraoxomanganate(VII) (the Baeyer test for unsaturation) nor adding on bromine readily as one would expect of the olefin to do.
In the presence of bright sunlight however, Benzene will add three molecules of bromine to form hexabromocyclohexane which means that each carbon in the benzene molecule has the potential for bonding to one more atom. On the other hand, when treatef with bromine in the presence of iron salt catalysts ( halogen carriers), benzene forms a mono-substitution product, bromobenzene.
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