Hydrocarbons

Xylene

Xylene or xylol (C6H4(CH3))  is a mixture of three isomers – ortho (o), meta (m), and para (p).  Xylene is a clear, colourless, sweet-smelling liquid that is highly flammable with a flashpoint between 23° C and 61° C.

Production

Xylene is both naturally occurring and manmade.  It can be refined from crude oil in a process known as alkylation.  It can also be produced from coal carbonisation as an extract from the benzole gas created by coke ovens.

Storage and Distribution

A chemical wholesaler would have a bulk petrochemical storage facility to regulate this product.  Storage is normally in a cool, dry and well ventilated facility away from oxidising agents.  Xylene should be kept out of direct sunlight, heat and open flames.  Solvents such as xylene should be stored in drummed containers such as isotanks made of stainless steel, aluminium or carbon steel.

A bulk solvent exporter would normally distribute this chemical in bulk vessels or tank trucks.  For transportation purposes, xylene is classed as a flammable liquid with a fire hazard rating of 3.  A full bulk chemical distributor would export xylene throughout regions such as the UK, Europe, Africa and America.  This product is a packing group 3.

Uses

The majority of mixed xylene isomers are used for blending into petrol and gasoline.  It is also a key solvent in the printing, rubber, leather and pesticides industries.  It can also be used as a cleaning agent for steel, silicon and as a thinner for paint, varnishes, adhesives and inks.  Other applications ofxXylene include making certain types of plastic, as an inhalant drug and the manufacture of dyes, fibres, perfumes, and films.  The main end user markets are the petrochemical, printing, rubber, leather, cleaning, plastics and pesticides industries.