Hydroquinone, also known as benzene-1,4-diol or quinol, is an aromatic organic compound that is a type of phenol, a derivative of benzene, having the chemical formula C6H4(OH)2. It has two hydroxyl groups bonded to a benzene ring in a para position. It is a white granular solid. Substituted derivatives of this parent compound are also referred to as hydroquinones.
- Hydroquinone has a variety of uses principally associated with its action as a reducing agent that is soluble in water. It is a major component in most black and white photographic developers for film and paper where, with the compound metol, it reduces silver halides to elemental silver
- There are various other uses associated with its reducing power. As a polymerisation inhibitor, exploiting its antioxidant properties, hydroquinone prevents polymerization of acrylic acid, methyl methacrylate, cyanoacrylate, and other monomers that are susceptible to radical-initiated polymerization
- By acting as a free radical scavenger, hydroquinone serves to prolong the shelf life of light-sensitive resins such as preceramic polymers
- Hydroquinone can lose a hydrogen cation from both hydroxyl groups to form a diphenolate ion. The disodium diphenolate salt of hydroquinone is used as an alternating comonomer unit in the production of the polymer PEEK