Molecule of the Week

p-Xylene

October 26, 2009

p-Xylene was first isolated from a wood distillate in 1850; today it is a widely produced petrochemical. Mixed xylenes are common industrial solvents, but the para isomer is the starting material for terephthalic acid, one of the monomers used in polyester production. Recent p-xylene developments include a new production method (August 24 Patent Watch) and its use as an overcharge protectant for lithium ion batteries (October 5 Noteworthy Chemistry).