Phenols are some of the most important chemical compounds in industry today. They’re used for a wide variety of applications including the production of Bisphenol A, a building block of widely-used polycarbonates. Phenols are also used to produce polymers and an astounding array of resins.
Where much of the advancement in phenols is taking place, in fact, is happening in pharmaceuticals. Phenolic components are critical ingredients in many fungicides, antiseptics, and other biological chemicals.
The Production of Phenols
On the surface, phenol production should be relatively simple. Quite simply, the hydrogen molecule with an aromatic hydrocarbon must be replaced by an oxygen molecule to result in a phenol. Unfortunately, it’s a chemical reaction that has been vastly underdeveloped relative to other commercial chemical processes. Until recently, the process of converting said hydrogen molecules required an acid of catalyst of some kind, adding significant time and cost to the reaction process.
The Phthaloyl Peroxide Discovery
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have been diligently working on streamlining the production of phenol compounds. Springboarding off research from the mid-20th century, a team of scientists at UT Austin discovered in 2013 that a simple compound, phthaloyl peroxide, can be used to quickly convert aromatic hydrocarbons into phenols. The process is unbelievably simple: combine the reagents and mix thoroughly. The resulting phenolic compound can be used in thousands of applications.
Reactive agents like phthaloyl peroxide are being applied to dozens of other organic chemistry conundrums. Creating metabolites to drugs, for example, is a perplexing issue that has plagued industries such as biochemistry and big pharma. Researchers now speculate that such reactive reagents could be useful in procuring metabolites, which are notoriously difficult to access within the body, for testing.
Continued applications within the pharmaceutical industry for phthaloyl peroxide will greatly depend on its availability. For pharmaceutical applications, very high-purity phthaloyl peroxide is necessary (at concentrations above 95%.) There is much more research to be done surrounding the end-use of phthaloyl peroxide and other reactive reagents.
Noah Chemicals is supplier and manufacturer of high-purity chemicals for use in the pharmaceutical industry. Our products span a plethora of industrial applications, from healthcare to agriculture and beyond. When purity matters, Noah Chemicals is up to the task.
In addition to an expansive catalog of chemicals and chemical compounds, our team also specializes in comprehensive customer service. From determining the best-use application for a specific chemical to helping select the correct purity level for research, our in-house chemists play an integral part in many of our clients’ processes.
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