10 Industrial applications of Xylene aromatic hydrocarbon mixture of three isomers

Xylene - a solvent, mixture of three isomers

Industrial applications of Xylene

Xylene characteristics can be described as an aromatic hydrocarbon solvent, a mixture of three different isomers i.e., meta-xylene, ortho-xylene, para-xylene. Xylol is the other widely used common name for xylene. Xylene appearance described as colorless, sweet-smelling liquid that catches on fire easily.

It is usually refined through an alkylation process from crude oil, also produced as the by-product from coal carbonization and can be extracted from benzole. Xylene is flammable but of modest acute toxicity, with LD50 ranges from 200 to 5000 mg/kg for animals. Oral xylene LD50 for rats is 4300 mg/kg.

Xylene evaporates quickly from the soil and surface water into the air. In the air, it is broken down by sunlight into other less harmful chemicals. Great variety of consumer products including gasoline, paint, varnish, shellac, rust preventives, and cigarette smoke xylene can be absorbed through the respiratory tract and through the skin.

High levels of exposure for short or long periods can cause headaches, lack of muscle coordination, dizziness, and confusion.

Xylene is 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.

Xylene applications in concrete sealer

Acrylic concrete sealer is a decorative concrete material widely used for concrete surfaces. In this type of sealers, xylene is used as a sealer/carrier solvent.

Xylene can be applied in three ways, all of which depend on the antiquing and/or cleaning method used when the concrete was stamped

In solvent based acrylic sealers, the carrier can be xylene. By applying a coat of xylene, one breaks down or re-melts the coat of sealer that is already on the surface.  When the xylene evaporates from the reconstituted sealer, it leaves the acrylic solids crystal clear and shiny like new.

If the excess antiquing release was not thoroughly removed and is not actually embedded in the cement paste, then scrubbing with xylene will spread the antiquing color around with the melted sealer and will probably create streaking and brush marks when the sealer re-dries. If xylene applied heavily enough, the xylene should melt the sealer all the way to the surface of the concrete before it evaporates.

The third method involves applying straight xylene heavily with a paint roller. This can accomplish the same thing as brushing, but without creating potential brush marks. Applying xylene is a great, inexpensive way to rejuvenate dull or whitened sealer.

Xylene applications

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.

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