cresol

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cresol

(krē`sōl), CH3C6H4OH, any one of three aromatic alcohols present in coal tar. The three compounds are structural isomersisomer
, in chemistry, one of two or more compounds having the same molecular formula but different structures (arrangements of atoms in the molecule). Isomerism is the occurrence of such compounds. Isomerism was first recognized by J. J. Berzelius in 1827.
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; they may be thought of as hydroxy derivatives of toluenetoluene
or methylbenzene
, C7H8, colorless liquid aromatic hydrocarbon that melts at −95°C; and boils at 110.8°C;. It is insoluble in water but highly soluble in most organic solvents.
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 or as methyl derivatives of phenolphenol
, C6H5OH, a colorless, crystalline solid that melts at about 41°C;, boils at 182°C;, and is soluble in ethanol and ether and somewhat soluble in water. An aromatic alcohol, it exhibits weak acidic properties and is corrosive and poisonous.
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. The names of the three compounds indicate which of the hydrogens on the benzene ring portion of the molecule have been replaced. Two adjacent hydrogens are replaced, one with a methyl group and one with a hydroxyl group, to form ortho-cresol, also called 2-hydroxytoluene, or 2-methylphenol. When a single unreplaced hydrogen lies between the two that are replaced, the compound formed is meta-cresol, 3-hydroxytoluene, or 3-methylphenol. When the replaced hydrogens lie opposite one another on the ring, the compound formed is para-cresol, 4-hydroxytoluene, or 4-methylphenol. Because the boiling points of these three compounds are nearly the same, a separation of a mixture of the three into its pure components is impractical. The mixture of cresols obtained from coal tar is called cresylic acid. The cresols are used in the manufacture of disinfectants and synthetic resins.

cresol

[′krē‚sȯl]
(organic chemistry)
CH3C6H4OH One of three poisonous, colorless isomeric methyl phenols: o-cresol, m-cresol, p-cresol; used in the production of phenolic resins, tricresyl phosphate, disinfectants, and solvents.