Benzene ring

1865 Benzene ring

The book of science

Tom Sharp

August Kekulé chemistry

Benzene ring

Discovery and proof

Locking rings

Understanding the structure of benzene helped make all aromatic compounds more understandable and useful. It is probable that Kekulé told the story about day-dreaming of the ouroboros as a joke, because his discovery came after years of studying compounds with carbon-to-carbon bonds. Today, there is controversy over whether single and double carbon bonds alternate, which would helps explain the thermodynamic stability that contributes to its aromatic properties. If they do not alternate, then the electrons could be distributed equally between the six carbon atoms, or spin-coupling could contribute to its aromatic properties.

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