In order to obtain the phenol from this distillate, it is treated with caustic soda, which dissolves the phenol and its homologues tegether with a certain quantity of naphthalene and other hydrocarbons.
For example: nitric acid and sulphuric acid readily react with benzene and its homologues with the production of nitro derivatives and sulphonic acids, while in the aliphatic series these acids exert no substituting action (in the case of the olefines, the latter acid forms an addition product); another distinction is that the benzene complex is more stable towards oxidizing agents.
Substitution of the Benzene Ring.-As a general rule, homologues and mono-derivatives of benzene react more readily with substituting agents than the parent hydrocarbon; for example, phenol is converted into tribromphenol by the action of bromine water, and into the nitrophenols by dilute nitric acid; similar activity characterizes aniline.
The homologues of acetylene condense more readily; thus allylene, CH: C CH 3, and crotonylene, CH 3.0: C CH 3, yield trimethyland hexamethyl-benzene under the influence of sulphuric acid.
Benzene and its homologues, carboxylic acids, and nitro compounds are much more stable towards oxidizing agents than.