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Kinetics of the hydroxymethylation of phenol I: Rate equation and method of analysis

Abstract

Seven reactions take place consecutively and competitively during the hydroxymethylation of phenol in aqueous alkaline media. This hydroxymethylation is the first step in the formation of phenolic resins and has long been studied. However, the rate equation, which can describe the seven reactions in those reaction systems where the alkali/phenol molar ratios are <1.0, has not yet been obtained. The authors present a rate equation (in a differential form) for a computer simulation. This equation involves the concentration of hydroxide ion, [OH], which changes with the change in the composition of the reaction system and cannot be expressed as a function of reaction time. However, the value of [OH] can be obtained by numerical calculation. In the computer simulation the reactions occur for an infinitesimal unit of time, and the changes in the concentrations of formaldehyde, phenols, and hydroxide ion are calculated. The next step of the reaction takes place according to the reaction conditions that result from the previous step. In this manner the reactions progress step by step in a computer. Using this method we can describe the reaction time course, (i.e., the changes in the concentrations of phenol, formaldehyde, and five species of hydroxymethylphenols with the reaction time).

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Correspondence to Mitsuo Higuchi.

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Higuchi, M., Nohno, S. & Tohmura, S. Kinetics of the hydroxymethylation of phenol I: Rate equation and method of analysis. J Wood Sci 44, 198–203 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00521963

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Key words

  • Chemical kinetics
  • Hydroxymethylation of phenol
  • Computer simulation