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Cumene process

The cumene process is used to prepare phenol (C6H5-OH) from benzene (C6H6) and propene[?] (C3H6).

Benzene and propene are compressed together to a pressure of 30 standard atmospheres and passed over a catalyst of phosphoric acid (H3PO4) at 250°C (482°F), giving isopropyl benzene or cumene (C6H5-CH(CH3)2). Cumene is oxidized in slightly basic conditions to give cumene hydroperoxide (C6H5C(CH3)2-O-O-H), which is hydrolysed in an acidic medium to give phenol and acetone (CH3-CO-CH3).



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