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Toluene is a common solvent, able to dissolve paints, paint thinners, silicone sealants, many chemical reactants, rubber, printingink,

adhesives (glues), lacquers, leather tanners, and disinfectants. It can also be used as a fullerene indicator, and is a raw material fortoluene diisocyanate (used in the manufacture of polyurethane foam) and TNT. In addition, it is used as a solvent for carbon nanotubes. It is also used as a cement for fine polystyrene kits (by dissolving and then fusing surfaces) as it can be applied very precisely by brush and contains none of the bulk of an adhesive. Toluene can be used to break open red blood cells in order to extract hemoglobin in biochemistry experiments.

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Fuel
Toluene can be used as an octane booster in gasoline fuels used in internal combustion engines. Toluene at 86% by volume fueled all the turbo Formula 1 teams in the 1980s, first pioneered by the Honda team. The remaining 14% was a "filler" of n-heptane, to reduce the octane to meet Formula 1 fuel restrictions. Toluene at 100% can be used as a fuel for both two-stroke and four-stroke engines; however, due to the density of the fuel and other factors, the fuel does not vaporize easily unless preheated to 70 degrees Celsius (Honda accomplished this in their Formula 1 cars by routing the fuel lines through the muffler system to heat the fuel). Toluene also poses similar problems as alcohol fuels, as it eats through [citation needed] standard rubber fuel lines and has no lubricating properties, as standard gasoline does, which can break down fuel pumps and cause upper cylinder bore wear. In Australia, toluene has been found to have been illegally combined with petrol in fuel outlets for sale as standard vehicular fuel. Toluene attracts no fuel excise, while other fuels are taxed at over 40%, so fuel suppliers are able to profit from substituting the cheaper toluene for petrol. This substitution is likely to affect engine performance and result in additional wear and tear. The extent of toluene substitution has [13][14] not been determined. Toluene is another in a group of fuels that have recently been used as components for jet fuel surrogate [15] blends. Toluene is used as ajet fuel surrogate for its content of aromatic compounds.

Pharmaceutical Solvents

Creating purity ...


Used for the manufacturing of many health care products such as penicillin, aspirin and cough syrup as well as hundreds of other pharmaceutical products, solvents provide molecules to build drugs and are also used as a reaction medium, for extraction and purification.

Solvents set the stage for the production of pharmaceuticals by providing the medium in which the reaction takes place. They also are used to separate the desired chemical products from unwanted ones, maximizing the purity of the drug. In the synthesis of pharmaceuticals the solvents are removed from the product before it is sold. Solvents are used in many cases in pharmaceutical formulations to enable the drug to be conveniently applied, injected or ingested. Solvents are also used to apply tablet coatings and in inks used to print on pharmaceutical tablets and capsules. Solvents are critical to the manufacture of numerous drugs and in the continued development of new, life-saving, lifeenhancing ones.

Solvents can serve one or more functions in pharmaceutical manufacture. They provide molecules to build some drugs. For other drugs, solvents are used for extraction and purification. Solvents also can provide a reaction medium. Solvents work in a variety of ways to contribute to many of the medicines people use today. As helpers in the formulation of many health care products such as penicillin, aspirin, cough syrup, and topical ointments, solvents play an important role in the medicine cabinet.

Solvents, which are liquids that have the ability to dissolve, suspend or extract other materials, make it possible to process, apply, clean or separate materials. They are chemically similar to greases and can therefore dissolve oily and greasy substances effectively. Solvents are used in the surface coatings, pharmaceutical, printing, agrochemical, metalworking, and other industries.
3.2 Precautions
When handling toluene:

It is advisable to apply a barrier cream to the hands prior to use. Always have at least one other person present in the laboratory. Keep containers closed and in an upright position when not in use. Drums in bulk storage may be stored horizontally. Keep containers away from sources of heat (including hot plates, Bunsen burners, ovens and sunlight) except when heating for testing purposes. Toluene vapour is heavier than air - prevent concentration in hollows or sumps. Do not enter confined spaces where vapour may have collected. Use only in a well ventilated area. Maintain a high level of personal hygiene when using toluene, by always washing hands before eating, drinking, smoking or using toilet facilities. It is advisable to apply a moisturiser after washing hands.