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Benzene has a molecular formula of $\ce{C6H6},$ right? Surely it has some alkene-like properties because of the double bonds, so can it undergo a hydration reaction to create alcohol?

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    $\begingroup$ Getting the double bonds in benzene to react like alkenes is possible, but also rather non-trivial, and steam will not do it. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jun 28 '19 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ At what temperature? Probably well above the critical point of both. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Jun 28 '19 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ Benzene doesn't have double bonds. Each of the six carbon-carbon bonds is identical, somewhere between a single and a double bound. $\endgroup$ – chepner Jun 29 '19 at 15:47
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Strange as it may seem, benzene can be reacted with steam over a suitable catalyst [1]. The result is a complete breakdown to simpler molecules like methane and carbon dioxide. Typical conditions are 0.055 atm partial pressure benzene, 0.60 atm partial pressure steam, and 370 °C temperature.

The cited reference also considers the breakdown of alkylbenzenes with steam under similar conditions.


Reference

  1. Masahiro Saito, Yoshio Sohda, Michiaki Tokuno, Yoshiro Morita, Reactions of Benzene or Alkylbenzenes with Steam over a Silica-Supported Nickel Catalyst, Bulletin of The Japan Petroleum Institute, 1972, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 54-63.
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