What is the Difference Between Acetophenone and Benzophenone

The main difference between acetophenone and benzophenone is that acetophenone has one benzene ring, whereas benzophenone has two benzene rings.

Acetophenone and benzophenone are organic compounds that belong to the ketone functional group, sharing a common phenyl (aromatic ring) structure. Both compounds have applications in diverse industrial processes and serve as building blocks in the synthesis of various chemicals.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Acetophenone 
      – Definition, Features 
2. What is Benzophenone
      – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities Between Acetophenone and Benzophenone
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Acetophenone and Benzophenone
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Acetophenone and Benzophenone
      – Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Acetophenone, Benzophenone, C8H8O, Methyl Phenyl Ketone

Difference Between Acetophenone and Benzophenone - Comparison Summary

What is Acetophenone

Acetophenone, also known as methyl phenyl ketone, is a colorless liquid with a distinct aromatic odor. Its chemical formula is C8H8O, and it belongs to the class of organic compounds known as ketones. Acetophenone plays an important role in both industrial processes and laboratory applications.

One of its primary uses is as a precursor in the synthesis of various chemicals, including pharmaceuticals and fragrances. The compound serves as a building block in the production of fine chemicals due to its versatile reactivity. Pharmaceutical industries often utilize acetophenone in the synthesis of anticonvulsant and antipyretic drugs. Its aromatic nature makes it a valuable starting material for the creation of aromatic compounds with diverse applications.

In the context of fragrance and flavor, acetophenone contributes to the creation of perfumes and artificial flavorings. Its sweet and floral aroma makes it a popular choice in the formulation of scents, adding depth and character to the final product. Additionally, it is employed as a flavoring agent in the food industry, enhancing the taste profiles of various products.

Acetophenone vs Benzophenone

Figure 1: Acetophenone

Acetophenone is also recognized for its role in organic synthesis and laboratory experiments. Chemists often use it as a model compound in studies related to ketones, allowing for a better understanding of reaction mechanisms and properties associated with this class of organic compounds. Its chemical structure and reactivity make it a convenient subject for educational purposes in the field of organic chemistry.

While acetophenone has widespread applications, it is essential to handle it with care due to its potential health hazards. As with many chemicals, proper safety precautions should be observed in its handling, storage, and disposal.

What is Benzophenone

Benzophenone is an important organic compound widely utilized in various industries. This aromatic ketone consists of two benzene rings connected by a carbonyl group, lending it distinctive properties that find applications in the fields of chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and sunscreens.

In chemistry, benzophenone serves as a common photoinitiator. When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, it undergoes a photochemical reaction, generating radicals that initiate polymerization processes. This property makes it a crucial component in the production of polymers, adhesives, and coatings. Its ability to facilitate the formation of cross-linked structures contributes to the durability and stability of these materials.

Compare Acetophenone and Benzophenone

Figure 2: Benzophenone

In pharmaceuticals, benzophenone derivatives have exhibited diverse biological activities, including anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Researchers explore these compounds for potential drug development, aiming to harness their pharmacological effects. Additionally, benzophenone-containing molecules have been studied for their antioxidant capabilities, further expanding their potential therapeutic applications.

Perhaps most commonly recognized, benzophenone plays a key role in sunscreens. Its ability to absorb UVB and UVA radiation makes it an effective component in protecting the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Incorporated into sunscreen formulations, benzophenone aids in preventing sunburn and reducing the risk of skin cancer caused by prolonged sun exposure.

However, it’s essential to note that the safety of benzophenone in cosmetic and personal care products has been a topic of discussion due to concerns about its potential to penetrate the skin and interact with UV radiation. Ongoing research and regulatory scrutiny aim to ensure the safe use of benzophenone and its derivatives in consumer products.

Similarities Between Acetophenone and Benzophenone

  • Acetophenone and benzophenone contain a carbonyl group (C=O), making them ketones.
  • Both compounds feature a phenyl (aromatic ring) structure.

Difference Between Acetophenone and Benzophenone


Acetophenone is a ketone with a carbonyl group attached to a phenyl group, while benzophenone is a ketone with two phenyl groups flanking a central carbonyl group.

Phenyl Group

Acetophenone has a single phenyl group attached to the carbonyl carbon, while benzophenone has two phenyl groups on either side of the carbonyl group.

Aromatic Ring

Acetophenone contains one aromatic ring, while benzophenone contains two aromatic rings in its structure. The presence of two aromatic rings in benzophenone can influence its reactivity differently than acetophenone in certain chemical reactions.

FAQ: Acetophenone and Benzophenone

Does acetophenone undergo an iodoform test?

No, acetophenone does not undergo the iodoform test. The iodoform reaction is specific to methyl ketones, and acetophenone lacks a methyl group attached to the carbonyl carbon.

Can you use Tollens reagent with acetophenone?

No, Tollens reagent is not typically reactive with acetophenone. Tollens reagent is commonly used to test for the presence of aldehydes but is less responsive to ketones.

How do you distinguish between acetophenone and benzophenone?

Acetophenone responds to isoform test and gives a yellow precipitate on the addition of NaOH but benzophenone does not.


Acetophenone is a ketone with a carbonyl group attached to a phenyl group, while benzophenone consists of two phenyl groups flanking a central carbonyl group. Thus, this is the main difference between acetophenone and benzophenone.


1. “Acetophenone.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
2. “Benzophenone.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Acetophenone-2D-skeletal” By Chem Sim 2001 – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Benzophenon” By NEUROtiker – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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