Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Phenol from styrene?

sceptic - 29-12-2022 at 23:28

Just as a disclaimer, I don't know very much about organic chemistry. I'm interested in making vitreous carbon, for which I would need a phenol-formaldehyde resin. I don't have any phenol, and I don't think I can buy it here. I could make phenol from aspirin, but I'd rather try to use the materials I have before I buy any chemicals.

The simplest chemical I have that contains a benzene ring is polystyrene, which I could convert to styrene. Is there any way to (relatively easily) convert styrene to phenol, or should I just go the aspirin route?

paulll - 30-12-2022 at 22:42

I doubt there's a route from styrene to phenol that doesn't involve a longer and more elusive shopping list than,"acetone, HCl, aspirin."
Just go the aspirin route.

j_sum1 - 30-12-2022 at 22:47

Pyrolysis of polystyrene gives styrene.
Oxidation then gives benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde then benzoic acid.

You need to knock off that extra carbon to get phenol. I doubt this is your simplest route.

sceptic - 31-12-2022 at 05:31

Okay, it looks like I'll have to use the aspirin route, thanks!