chapter
Toluene
WithG Margaret Wells
Pages 4

Toluene, like benzene, is available from two different sources: petroleum, which is the prime raw material, and light oil, formed by the carbonization of coal. Because petroleum contains a mixture of aromatics, if toluene is the desired end product, hydroforming streams which are rich in dimethylcyclopentane, methyl-cyclohexane and ethylcyclopentane are chosen. Toluene can be recovered from the middle cut by azeotrophic distillation, extractive distillation or solvent extraction. Solvent extraction is the usual route employed to recover benzene and toluene. The major outlet for toluene is in gasoline because it increases the octane-rating. Catalytic reformate, which is rich in aromatics, is used to upgrade gasoline and toluene is the preferred blending component. Toluene is an irritant to eyes, skin, nose and lungs. Toluene should be stored in closed containers vented to the atmosphere away from working areas. Great care must be exercized when handling toluene to prevent skin contact, and protective clothing and good ventilation are essential.