The Boiling Point of Xylene: A Comprehensive Guide (2024)

The boiling point of xylene, a widely used aromatic hydrocarbon, is a crucial property that has been extensively studied and documented in various scientific and technical resources. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of the boiling point of xylene, providing a wealth of technical details and practical applications for science students and professionals.

Understanding the Boiling Point of Xylene

The boiling point of xylene, which is a mixture of three isomers (ortho-xylene, meta-xylene, and para-xylene), ranges from 136.19°C to 145°C, as reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This range is based on the analysis of xylene samples using charcoal tubes and SKC 575-002 passive samplers, which are commonly employed methods for measuring the concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.

Factors Influencing the Boiling Point of Xylene

The boiling point of xylene is influenced by several factors, including:

  1. Molecular Structure: The three isomers of xylene (o-xylene, m-xylene, and p-xylene) have slightly different molecular structures, which can affect their boiling points. The boiling point of m-xylene, as reported by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), is 139.1°C.

  2. Purity and Composition: The boiling point range of xylene can vary depending on its grade and isomer composition. For example, the boiling point range of nitration grade xylene is 137.2-140.5°C, while the boiling point range of 10 degrees xylene is 135-145°C, as reported by PubChem.

  3. Atmospheric Pressure: The boiling point of xylene, like any other substance, is influenced by the surrounding atmospheric pressure. The boiling point values mentioned in this guide are typically reported at standard atmospheric pressure (1 atm or 101.325 kPa).

Theoretical Considerations

The boiling point of xylene can be understood from a theoretical perspective using the principles of thermodynamics and intermolecular forces. The boiling point is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of a liquid equals the surrounding atmospheric pressure, allowing the liquid to transition into a gaseous state.

The boiling point of xylene is influenced by the strength of the intermolecular forces, such as van der Waals forces, between the xylene molecules. Stronger intermolecular forces require more energy to overcome, resulting in a higher boiling point. The specific molecular structure and polarity of the xylene isomers can affect the strength of these intermolecular forces, leading to slight variations in their boiling points.

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Measurement Techniques for Boiling Point of Xylene

The Boiling Point of Xylene: A Comprehensive Guide (1)

Accurate measurement of the boiling point of xylene is crucial for various applications, such as chemical processing, environmental monitoring, and quality control. Several analytical techniques have been employed to determine the boiling point of xylene, including:

  1. Charcoal Tube and SKC 575-002 Passive Sampler: These methods, as used by OSHA, involve the collection of xylene samples and subsequent analysis to determine the boiling point range.

  2. Gas Chromatography: This highly sensitive and accurate technique, as used by ATSDR, can provide precise measurements of the boiling point of individual xylene isomers, such as m-xylene.

  3. Distillation: The boiling point of xylene can be determined by conducting a distillation process and monitoring the temperature at which the liquid transitions to the gaseous state.

  4. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC): This analytical technique measures the heat flow associated with phase transitions, including the boiling point, of xylene samples.

  5. Vapor Pressure Measurement: The boiling point of xylene can be inferred from the measurement of its vapor pressure using specialized equipment, such as a vapor pressure osmometer.

Each of these measurement techniques has its own advantages, limitations, and specific experimental protocols. The choice of method depends on the desired level of accuracy, the available equipment, and the specific requirements of the application.

Applications of Boiling Point of Xylene

The boiling point of xylene is a crucial property that has numerous applications in various fields, including:

  1. Chemical Processing: The boiling point of xylene is essential in the design and optimization of chemical processes, such as distillation, extraction, and purification, where the separation and recovery of xylene are crucial.

  2. Environmental Monitoring: The boiling point of xylene is a key parameter in the analysis and detection of xylene in air, water, and soil samples, which is important for environmental regulations and risk assessment.

  3. Product Quality Control: The boiling point of xylene is used as a quality control parameter in the manufacturing of xylene-based products, ensuring consistent product performance and compliance with industry standards.

  4. Solvent Selection: The boiling point of xylene is a critical factor in the selection of appropriate solvents for various applications, such as in the paint, coatings, and adhesives industries.

  5. Thermodynamic Modeling: The boiling point of xylene is an essential input for thermodynamic models and simulations, which are used to predict the behavior of xylene-containing systems in various processes and applications.

  6. Safety and Handling: The boiling point of xylene is a crucial parameter in the safe handling, storage, and transportation of xylene, as it determines the temperature at which the liquid can transition to a flammable vapor.

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Understanding the boiling point of xylene and its associated measurement techniques and applications is essential for science students and professionals working in fields such as chemistry, chemical engineering, environmental science, and materials science.

Numerical Examples and Calculations

To further illustrate the practical applications of the boiling point of xylene, let’s consider the following examples:

  1. Distillation Calculation:
  2. Objective: Determine the minimum temperature required to distill a mixture containing 80% xylene and 20% toluene.
  3. Given:
    • Boiling point of xylene: 136.19°C to 145°C
    • Boiling point of toluene: 110.6°C
  4. Calculation:

    • The minimum temperature required to distill the mixture would be the boiling point of the more volatile component, which is toluene at 110.6°C.
    • However, to ensure complete separation of xylene, the temperature should be set slightly higher, within the boiling point range of xylene (136.19°C to 145°C).
  5. Vapor Pressure Calculation:

  6. Objective: Calculate the vapor pressure of xylene at 25°C.
  7. Given:
    • Boiling point of xylene: 139.1°C (for m-xylene)
    • Clausius-Clapeyron equation: ln(P2/P1) = (ΔHvap/R)*(1/T1 – 1/T2)
    • ΔHvap of xylene: 33.47 kJ/mol
    • R: 8.314 J/mol·K
  8. Calculation:
    • Rearranging the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, we can calculate the vapor pressure of xylene at 25°C:
    • ln(P2/P1) = (ΔHvap/R)*(1/T1 – 1/T2)
    • ln(P2/101.325 kPa) = (33.47 kJ/mol)/(8.314 J/mol·K)*(1/(139.1+273.15 K) – 1/(25+273.15 K))
    • P2 = 1.33 kPa (at 25°C)
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These examples demonstrate how the boiling point of xylene can be used in various calculations and applications, such as distillation processes and vapor pressure estimation.

Conclusion

The boiling point of xylene is a fundamental property that has been extensively studied and documented in the scientific literature. This comprehensive guide has provided a detailed overview of the boiling point of xylene, including the factors that influence it, the measurement techniques used to determine it, and the various applications where it plays a crucial role.

By understanding the intricacies of the boiling point of xylene, science students and professionals can better navigate the complexities of chemical processes, environmental monitoring, product quality control, and thermodynamic modeling. The numerical examples and calculations presented in this guide further illustrate the practical applications of this important property.

As research and technology continue to advance, the understanding of the boiling point of xylene and its related properties will undoubtedly deepen, leading to even more innovative applications and solutions in various scientific and industrial fields.

Reference:

  1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (n.d.). OSHA Sampling and Analytical Methods: Xylene. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/methods/osha-1002.pdf
  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). (2007). Toxicological Profile for Xylene. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp71-c3.pdf
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 1330, Xylene. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Xylene
  4. Clausius-Clapeyron equation. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausius%E2%80%93Clapeyron_relation

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