benzoic acid

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benzoic acid

benzoic acid (bĕnzōˈĭk), C6H5CO2H, crystalline solid organic acid that melts at 122℃ and boils at 249℃. It is the simplest aromatic carboxylic acid (see aryl group and carboxyl group). In addition to being synthesized from a variety of organic compounds (e.g., benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, toluene, and phthalic acid), it may be obtained from resins, notably gum benzoin. It is used largely for making its salts and esters, most notably sodium benzoate, which is widely used as a preservative in foods and beverages and as a mild antiseptic in mouthwashes and toothpastes.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Benzoic Acid


the simplest aromatic acid, C6H5COOH; it forms clear, lustrous crystals. It was first isolated by sublimation at the beginning of the 17th century from benzoic resin (benzoin gum), hence its name. Its melting point is 122° C. Benzoic acid is readily soluble in organic solvents; it is poorly soluble in water. It sublimates readily and is distilled with steam. Benzoic acid is obtained by the oxidation of toluene with nitric or chromic acid, as well as by the decarboxylation of phthalic acid.

Benzoic acid in the form of complex esters and salts is contained in various natural essential oils—for example, clove oil. In medicine it is used externally in cases of skin diseases as an antiseptic and fungicidal agent; its sodium salt is used as an expectorant. In addition, the sodium salt is used in the preservation of foodstuffs. The esters of benzoic acid (from methyl to amyl), which have a strong odor, are used in the perfume industry. Various derivatives of benzoic acid— for example, chlorobenzoic and nitrobenzoic acids—are used in the synthesis of dyes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

benzoic acid

[ben′zō·ik ′as·əd]
(organic chemistry)
C6H5COOH An aromatic carboxylic acid that melts at 122.4°C, boils at 250°C, and is slightly soluble in water and relatively soluble in alcohol and ether; derivatives are valuable in industry, commerce, and medicine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.