Benzine, Or Benzene, a light oil of petroleum. Mitecherlich in 1838 obtained an oil by the distillation of benzoic acid with an excess of caustic lime, to which he applied the name of-benzine. The same body had been discovered by Faraday in 1825, and named by him bicarbu-retted hydrogen. Liebig, in reprinting .Mit-echerlich's article in his Annalen, objected to the termination in, and changed it into ol, and thus introduced the new name benzol. For a long time therefore benzin and benzol were used synonymously by different authors - the French adhering to Mitscherlich and calling the substance benzine, while the English called it benzole. After the discovery of petroleum the word benzole or benzine was applied to a liquid of a totally different chemical constitution, though analogous in some of its properties. As soon as it was ascertained by careful chemical analysis that the series of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum were different from those obtained from coal tar, scientific men and oil refiners began to recognize a distinction between benzole and benzine, and by general agreement the latter word was applied to the light oils of petroleum, while benzole was reserved to designate the original oil discovered by Faraday, and now made in enormous quantities from coal tar to be used in the manufacture of aniline colors.
Commercial benzine is a mixture of various hydrocarbons, and it is impossible to assign a constant composition or chemical formula to the article sold under this name. The following table will exhibit some of the products derived from petroleum:
Rhigoline, specific grav. 0.60
(90°B.). goes over at 100°F.
Gasoline, " "
(80-90oB.) " "
Naphtha, " "
(70-80° B.) " "
Benzine, " "
(60-70°B.) " "
Kerosene, " "
(50-60°B.) " "
Above 400° F., mineral sperm and paraffine oil, with specific gravity 72 to 85, are produced. In the United States the petroleum refiners apply the trade name benzine to the naphtha that comes over at 800° F., and has the specific gravity of 0.73 to 0.67=60 to 70° Baume. In England the term "benzene" is sometimes applied to the volatile naphtha obtained in the rectification of coal tar, and also to petroleum ether.__
Benzine is a colorless, ethereal liquid, volatile at ordinary temperatures, so that its vapor takes fire at a distance, the same as that of ether; its specific gravity is 0.70; it boils at 140° f. (benzole, 176° F.); it has never been frozen (benzole freezes at 37° F.). It increases the illuminating power of gases, but is inferior to benzole in this respect; it burns with a smoky flame. It does not mix with water or methylic alcohol, but does so readily when warmed with absolute alcohol, fatty and essential oils, and bisulphide of carbon. It dissolves fats, wax, and paraffine; india rubber swells up and finally goes into solution; mastic, damar, colophonium, and pitch are with difficulty attacked by it, and amber, copal, and shell lac scarcely at all. If asphaltum or pitch be covered in a test tube with benzole, it is rapidly dissolved into a tarry liquid; whereas benzine is after the lapse of a few hours scarcely colored by the pitch. Fine benzole can in this way be distinguished from benzine. - Benzine is used in the manufacture of varnishes and paints; to remove grease spots; to extract oils and essential principles from seeds and plants; to make water-proof leather; to carbonize illuminating gas in the manufacture of air gas; to preserve anatomical specimens; as a substitute for turpentine in i paints; in the manufacture of lampblack; and as a highly explosive and dangerous burning fluid.
It has been used to adulterate kerosene, and this abuse of the article has cost hundreds of lives. The wholesale price of benzine in the United States in 1870, according to the report of Dr. Chandler to the board of health of the city of New York, was from 12 to 16 cents a gallon. Benzole cost at the same time about $1 a gallon. - Benzine is not acted upon by nitric acid, and hence cannot be employed in the manufacture of aniline colors. Chlorine, bromine, and iodine also produce no particular compounds with it. On comparison of benzole with benzine, it will thus be found that they differ widely from each other in boiling and freezing point, in molecular composition, in chemical reactions, in solvent properties, in specific gravitv, and in their origin and uses.