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. p-Xylene developments in the past 10 years include a method for producing it from toluene and methanol and its use as an overcharge protectant for lithium ion batteries.
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