What organic compound is the simplest hydroxyl-bearing aromatic
hydrocarbon? We’re given a lot of information in this question. So let’s try to break it down into smaller chunks. It tells us that the compound we’re looking for contains a hydroxyl
group. This can be written as OH. It also says that we’re looking for a hydrocarbon. This means that the compound we’re looking for mainly contains carbon and
hydrogen atoms. We’re also looking for a compound which is classed as aromatic. Of course, this means aromatic in the chemical sense and not that the compound
is smelly. Being aromatic means that we know our compound is going to contain at least one
ring. The question specifies that we’re looking for the simplest aromatic
hydrocarbon. Being simple means that we’re looking for the smallest aromatic
hydrocarbon. Hopefully, you remember that the smallest or simplest aromatic hydrocarbon is
benzene. Benzene is the smallest aromatic compound and contains a six-membered
ring. You may also see benzene drawn as a six-membered ring, with a circle in the
middle. This denotes that the electrons in the double bonds are delocalized around the
ring. Either is correct. So now that we found our simplest aromatic hydrocarbon, we need to return it
into the simplest hydroxyl-bearing aromatic hydrocarbon. To do this, let’s add a hydroxyl group. So here we have the simplest hydroxyl-bearing aromatic hydrocarbon, drawn out
as a structure. But we’re looking for the name of this molecule. Because it contains a hydroxyl group, we want the name to end in -ol.
Hopefully, you’ve remembered by now that the name of this molecule is
phenol. So this is the answer to our question.