Benzophenone From Benzoic Acid: An Overview

Benzophenone Molecule on White Stock Illustration Illustration of


Benzophenone is a widely used organic compound in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and plastics. It can be synthesized from benzoic acid through a series of chemical reactions. In this article, we will discuss the process of producing benzophenone from benzoic acid.

The Process

The first step in the synthesis of benzophenone from benzoic acid is the conversion of benzoic acid to benzoyl chloride. This is done by reacting benzoic acid with thionyl chloride in the presence of a catalyst such as pyridine. The reaction produces benzoyl chloride and hydrogen chloride gas.

The next step involves the reaction of benzoyl chloride with benzene in the presence of a Lewis acid catalyst such as aluminum chloride. This reaction produces diphenylmethanone or benzophenone and hydrogen chloride gas.

The benzophenone produced in the previous step is then purified through recrystallization. This involves dissolving the crude product in a suitable solvent such as ethanol or acetone and allowing it to cool slowly. The purified benzophenone is obtained as colorless crystals.


Benzophenone has several applications in various industries. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used as a UV absorber and a photosensitizer in photodynamic therapy. In the cosmetics industry, it is used as a fragrance and a UV absorber in sunscreens. In the plastics industry, it is used as a photoinitiator in the production of polymers and resins.

Health and Safety Considerations

Benzophenone is a hazardous chemical, and proper precautions must be taken while handling it. It can cause skin and eye irritation, and prolonged exposure can lead to respiratory problems. It is also a potential carcinogen and mutagen, and care should be taken to avoid exposure.


Benzophenone is a versatile organic compound with various applications in different industries. Its synthesis from benzoic acid involves a series of chemical reactions, and the final product is obtained through recrystallization. However, its use requires proper care and precautions due to its potential health hazards.