Aromatic hydrocarbon

Figure 1. A ball and stick model showing the structure of benzene.[1] Benzene is the simplest aromatic hydrocarbon.[2]

An aromatic hydrocarbon, or an arene, is one of the four main types of hydrocarbons. Aromatics are true hydrocarbons, meaning these molecules are made up of only hydrogen and carbon. Aromatics are unsaturated rings, meaning that they have at least one double bond between the carbon atoms. The name "aromatic" was conceived from the tendency of such compounds to have a strong fragrance.[3]

The simplest arene is benzene which has the molecular formula (C6H6). Benzene is a ring of 6 carbon atoms that alternate single and double bonds between the carbon atoms with a single hydrogen attached to each carbon. There are many of these aromatic hydrocarbons in various fuels like gasoline, diesel and kerosene (jet fuel).

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Further Reading


  1. Wikimedia Commons. (September 8, 2015). Benzene 3D Balls [Online]. Available:
  2. Aromatic compounds: Benzene [Online]. Available: Accessed May 11th, 2021.
  3. “Arenes,” Chemistry LibreTexts, 18-Oct-2016.[Online].Available: [Accessed: 19-May-2017].