Xylene, also called dimethylbenzene, is an aromatic hydrocarbon that appears as a colorless liquid with a sweet smelling scent. It is commonly used in coating formulations, including general industrial enamels, two pack epoxies, and polyurethanes. Xylene is flammable and insoluble in water, but it mixes readily with many organic solvents.
Xylenes are produced by dehydrocyclodimerization and by methylating of toluene and benzene. The ratio of isomers can be shifted to favor p-xylene via the isomer process, which is most valued. The complexes of different isomers often have dramatically different properties from each other. The process of conversion is catalyzed by zeolites.
Xylene is extensively used as a thinner for paints, varnishes, a cleaning and degreasing agent, and adhesives. It is also used as a solvent in the printing, rubber, leather industries, a cleaning and degreasing agent, inks, and adhesives. It is commonly found as a solvent in pesticide products and also found in small amounts in airplane fuel and gasoline.
Xylene is used as a feedstock in the production of petrol. It is also a frequent component of paraffin solvents; used when the tubing becomes clogged with paraffin wax.
It is used in the manufacture of certain polymers as the raw material in the production of a monomer (a simple compound with molecules that join together to form polymers) called terephthalic acid.