What are the precise conditions under which benzene undergoes ozonolysis? All anyone can tell me is that it undergoes ozonolysis under "vigorous" conditions. But, what vigorous conditions?


What are the precise conditions under which Benzene undergoes ozonolysis?

In Über das Ozobenzol, an early German publication on the reaction of benzene with ozone, Ber. Dtsch. Chem. Ges., 1904, 337, 3431-3433 (DOI) , the authors write

Leitet man in solches Benzol 1–2 Stunden lang bei einer Temperatur von 5–10° einen 5-procentigen Ozonstrom, so scheidet sich eine gelatinöse Masse aus, welche stark opalisirt. […]

Lässt man das unangegriffene Benzol verdunsten, so bildet es eine weisse, amorphe Masse von furchtbar explosiven Eigenschaften. Selbst beim Uebergiessen mit warmem Wasser detonirte diese Substanz heftig.

Uebergiesst man aber das gelatinöse Product mit eiskaltem Wasser, so entsteht eine krystallinische Modification, die wohl möglich noch heftiger als die amorphe bei der geringsten Berührung, ähnlich wie Jodstickstoff, explodirt.

To sum this up:

  • The authors prepared the primary triozonide of benzene by passing a stream of ozone though it at a temperature of 5–10 °C.

  • Once the remaining benzene evaporated at room temperature, a white, amorphous mass with frightfully explosive properties was obtained.

  • When warm water was poured over it, this mass detonated.

  • When cold water was poured over the amorphous, jelly-like mass, a crystalline modification was obtained, which detonated on the slightest touch, similar to to nitrogen triiodide.

In the 1950s, a group of Dutch researchers published a series of articles about their kinetic experiments on the ozonization reactions.

The second article in the series, Recl. Trav. Chim. Pays-Bas, 1951, 70, 1005–1019, (DOI) notes that the ozonisation of benzene was performed in chloroform at a temperature of 242 K (–31 °C).

In the late 1960s, ozonization of benzene again gained some interest as a possible source for glyoxal in industrial synthesis.

In Glyoxal from Ozonolysis of Benzene, published in Ind. Eng. Chem. Prod. Res. Dev., 1969, 8, 89–92 DOI), the authors describe the ozonolysis of benzene in a mixture of acetic acid and nitromethane at temperatures between –20 °C and 15 °C.


All anyone can tell me is that it undergoes ozonolysis under "vigorous" conditions.

Apparently, your sources never bothered to check the literature! While the ozonide itself may detonate on touch, claims on the "vigorous" conditions necessary for its synthesis seem to be fully unsubstantiated by the literature!


To be sure, the ozonolysis of benzene(C6H6) [As given in the book "GRB Organic Chemistry for JEE (Mains and Advanced)" written by O.P. Tandon ] will be carried out at low temperature(196 to 200 Kelvin). Benzene when treated with ozone in prescence of an inert solvent like chloroform(CHCl3) or CCl4 or CH2Cl2, benzene triozonide is produced which on reduction with zinc dust and water yields 3 moes of glyoxal.


Ozonolysis is the cleavage of an alkene or alkyne with ozone to form organic compounds in which the multiple carbon–carbon bond has been replaced by a double bond to oxygen.

enter image description here

The ozonolysis of benzene forms Glyoxal through the formation of benzene Triozonide as an intermediate.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ The question is about the conditions for the reaction, not the mechanism. Although this mechanism is correct, it does not answer the question. $\endgroup$ – bon Feb 2 '16 at 17:50

Ozonolysis of benzene can be done at very high temperature or by its reaction with Zinc and water.image of Ozonolysis of benzene


Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could you provide a link to an example? It would greatly improve this answer. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris Dec 16 '13 at 12:29
  • $\begingroup$ The reaction shown in the image takes place at room temperature? Because you said high temperature OR with Zinc and water. Also, the conditions for the ozonolysis of any alkene is the same as above. Should'nt the conditions for the ozonolysis of benzene be more extreme? $\endgroup$ – Keerthana A.K. Dec 18 '13 at 17:16

protected by Community Apr 25 '18 at 19:08

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.