Xylene is a colorless liquid and vapor. It is flammable at room temperature. It was named after xylong, the Greek word for wood, because it was found in crude wood spirit. The chemical formula for xylene is C8H10, or more specifically (C6H4)(CH3)2. Other synonyms for xylene are dimethyl benzene, methyl toluene, xylol and mixed xylenes. Xylene’s structure consists of two methyl groups attached to a six-carbon ring. There are three main isomers of xylene, called ortho-xylene, meta-xylene and paraxylene. A fourth isomer is ethylbenzene. Meta-xylene is a main component of commercial-grade xylene. Paraxylene boasts a number of uses in the polymer industry.
Xylene origin include both natural and manmade or synthetic method. It is widely used as a solvent in the leather, rubber, and printing industries. Other various applications of xylene include chemical intermediates, and high-motor and aviation gasoline blending agents, breathing devices (inhalers).
Xylene is used in the production of terephthalic acid monomer. It is a good cleaning agent for silicon wafers, steel and to sterilize many substances. Xylene is used as a feedstock in the production of petrol. It is also found in small proportions in gasoline and jet fuel.
P-Xylene is the principal precursor to terephthalic acid and dimethyl terephthalate, both monomers used in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and polyester clothing.
O-Xylene is an important precursor to phthalic anhydride.
Xylene is substituted for toluene where slower drying is desired and thus is used by conservators of art objects in solubility testing.
It is used in the laboratory to make baths with dry ice to cool reaction vessels, and as a solvent to remove synthetic immersion oil from the microscope objective in light microscopy.
In histology, xylene is the most widely used clearing agent.
Xylene is used to remove paraffin from dried microscope slides prior to staining.