16 April 2021 Bulletin

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Biphenyl (or diphenyl or phenylbenzene or 1,1′-biphenyl or lemonene) is an organic compound that forms colourless crystals and has a distinctively pleasant smell.

Biphenyl occurs naturally in coal tar, crude oil, and natural gas and can be isolated from these sources via distillation. It can also be synthesised by using a Grignard reagent such as phenylmagnesium bromide and reacting it with bromobenzene. Biphenyl is insoluble in water, but soluble in typical organic solvents. The biphenyl molecule consists of two connected phenyl rings. Lacking functional groups, it is fairly non-reactive. It will, however, participate in many of the reactions that are typical for benzene, for example, substitution reactions upon treatment with halogens in the presence of a Lewis acid.

Biphenyl is one of the most thermally stable of all organic compounds. It is combustible at high temperatures producing carbon dioxide and water when combustion is complete. Partial combustion produces carbon monoxide, smoke, soot, and low molecular weight hydrocarbons.

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