What are aromatics, what's their chemical composition and how are they manufactured?

What are Aromatics?

Aromatics, so called because of their distinctive perfumed smell, are substances derived from crude oil and, in small quantities, from coal. Aromatics are hydrocarbons, organic compounds that consist exclusively of the elements carbon and hydrogen – without which life would not be possible on Earth.

The main aromatics are benzene, toluene and the xylenes; they are used as starting materials for a wide range of consumer products.

Many items taken for granted in our everyday lives rely on products made by the aromatics industry, with benefits like durability, safety, comfort and lightweight design. Aromatics are used to make products for areas as diverse as medicine, hygiene, transport, telecommunications, fashion and sports.

In this section you will find out about the origins of aromatics, their many applications and, for the more technically minded, their chemistry:

Find out more about the impressive range of everyday products manufactured thanks to the input of aromatics in our section Aromatics and everyday life.