White or light-yellow needles or leaves. Mp: 212-213°C; bp 376°C. Density: 1.23 g cm-3. Insoluble in water. Soluble in hot benzene. Very soluble in hot ethyl alcohol. Usually shipped as a solid mixture with its isomers o-terphenyl and m-terphenyl that is used as a heat-transfer fluid.
p-Terphenyl is used in analytical studies, it can be used as a neutron detector.
Crystallise p-terphenyl from nitrobenzene or trichlorobenzene. It is also purified by chromatography on alumina in a darkened room, using pet ether, and then crystallising from pet ether (b 40-60o) or pet ether/*benzene. It is a fluorophore for scintillation counting and has ex 286nm : em 343nm in DMF, and max 277nm (log 4.50). [Beilstein 5 IV 2483.]
ChEBI: A para-terphenyl that consists of benzene attached to two phenyl units at positions 1 and 4 respectively.
Toxic by ingestion and inhalation. Eye and
upper respiratory tract irritant.
p-Terphenyl is non-flammable but combustible (flash point: 410°C). Extremely stable thermally. Incompatible with strong oxidizing agents but not very reactive at room conditions.