Compare Reactivity of Alcohol and Phenol
In phenol -OH group is directly bonded to benzene.
The lone pair of oxygen can interact with the delocalised pi system of benzene and resonance stability is extended to C-O bond.
This makes the C-O bond very stable and phenol does not take part in substitution and elimination reactions like alcohol.
Therefore phenol will have significantly fewer reactions compared to alcohol, since both alcohol's C-O and O-H bonds can be broken.
Let's compare the reactivity and types of reaction for alcohol and phenol.
Types of reaction when C-O bond is broken include nucleophilic substitution and elimination.
Types of reaction when O-H bond is broken include oxidation (C-H bond is also broken), neutralisation and condensation.
Since C-O bond is resonance stabilised and not broken, there is no nucleophilic substitution and elimination.
O-H bond can still be broken hence phenols can take part in neutralisation and condensation reactions.
Check out this video to learn all the reactions of alcohols and phenols.
Topic: Alcohol, Organic Chemistry, A Level Chemistry, Singapore
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