Benzene from Coal and Lye?

Chemistry, Education
[caption id="attachment_17736" align="alignright" width="480"] Coal and Lye[/caption] As a youth, I read whatever chemistry books I could get hold of. One made reference to an obscure synthesis of the liquid aromatic compound benzene from coal and lye, by means of heat. This reaction would seem to be an improbable one. Can a stoichiometric equation be written for such a synthesis? The answer is, Yes. This in itself does not guarantee the reaction can actually take place. 6 NaOH + 9 C → 3 Na2O + C6H6 + 3 CO I learned of this synthesis from an old book, possibly published in the 1800s. Coal and Lye - What Conditions? Such a reaction strongly suggests isolation. The reaction required considerable heat. Also, air was to be excluded, since carbon would react…
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