XyleneÂ orÂ xylolÂ is a mixture of three structuralÂ isomersÂ of theÂ aromatic hydrocarbonÂ dimethyl benzene. Xylene is a clear, colorless, sweet-smelling liquid that is very flammable. It is usually refined fromÂ crude oilÂ in a process calledÂ alkylation. It is also produced as a by-product fromÂ coal carbonizationÂ derived fromÂ coke ovens, extracted from crudeÂ benzoleÂ from gas, or by dehydrocyclodimerization and methylating ofÂ toluene and benzene.Â It is also manufactured fromÂ reformate.
Xylene is often used as aÂ solventÂ and in theÂ printing,Â rubber, andÂ leatherÂ industries
It is used as aÂ cleaning agentÂ forÂ steelÂ and forÂ silicon wafersÂ andÂ chips
It is used as aÂ thinner for paint, and inÂ paintsÂ andÂ varnishes. It may be substituted forÂ tolueneÂ to thin lacquers where slower drying is desired
In histology, xylene is also used for clearing the tissues following dehydration in preparation for paraffin wax infiltration. It is also used after sections have been stained to make them hydrophobic so that a coverslip may be applied with a resin in solvent
It is used as a carrier for acrylic based concrete sealers
It is used in the laboratory to make baths with dry ice to cool reaction vessels to low temperatures when required, and as aÂ solventÂ to remove syntheticÂ immersion oilÂ from the microscopeÂ objectiveÂ inÂ light microscopy