[eth-uhl-ben-zeen, -ben-zeen]

Ethylbenzene is an Organic compound with the formula C6H5CH2CH3. This aromatic hydrocarbon. is important in the petrochemical industry as an intermediate in the production of styrene, which in turn is used for making polystyrene, a commonly used plastic material. Although often present in small amounts in crude oil, ethylbenzene is produced in bulk quantities by combining benzene and ethylene in an acid-catalyzed chemical reaction:

C6H6 + C2H4 → C6H5CH2CH3
Approximately 24,700,000 tons were produced in 1999. Catalytic dehydrogenation of the ethylbenzene then gives hydrogen and styrene. Ethylbenzene is also an ingredient in some paints, and solvent grade xylene (xylol) nearly always contaminated with a few percent of ethylbenzene.


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