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Aromatic Chemistry

5. Making Poly-Substituted Aromatic Compounds

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Following on from the previous lecture, we look at how the reactivity of benzene changes when a functional group is already attached to it. We learn that the positions of benzene are no longer uniform in their tendency to react if there is already an electron-donating group such as -OH. To understand this, we look at the resonance structures of phenol — benzene with an added hydroxyl group. Is the effect the same, when we add an electron-withdrawing group? Using nitrobenzene as an example, we again take a look at its resonance structures. Finally, the information gathered from these structures plays a major role when making poly-substituted aromatic compounds, which we learn about briefly.


In this course Dr Danny Allwood (Sheffield Hallam University) about a unique type of organic molecule: aromatic compounds. There are countless examples of aromatic compounds used in medicine, biotechnology, dyes, explosives and many other areas where chemicals are used. Therefore, understanding what aromaticity is and how it can affect a chemical reaction is extremely important. We begin by (i) looking at benzene, which for a long time had a known chemical formula (C6H6) but an unknown structure; (ii) focusing on Kekulé’s structure and discussing the problems with this theory; (iii) then moving on to look at how benzene exists in nature, and how this enables its aromaticity; (iv) then using this knowledge, understanding how molecules of benzene react, compared with known reactions of substitution; (v) and finally looking at how the addition of functional groups affects the reactivity of specific positions.


Dr Danny Allwood joined Sheffield Hallam University from the University of Cambridge, where he undertook a PhD (2008-2012) and post-doctoral research (2012-2015) with Professor Steven V. Ley CBE FRS. Prior to this, he attained my undergraduate degree at the University of Warwick (2004-2008). His current research programme is focused on the development of practical synthetic and catalytic organic transformations.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Allwood, D. (2022, January 17). Aromatic Chemistry - Making Poly-Substituted Aromatic Compounds [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Allwood, Danny. "Aromatic Chemistry – Making Poly-Substituted Aromatic Compounds." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Jan 2022,

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