Standard Article

Direct Sulfonation of Aromatic Hydrocarbons and their Halogen Derivatives

  1. C. M. Suter1,
  2. Arthur W. Weston2

Published Online: 15 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0471264180.or003.04

Organic Reactions

Organic Reactions

How to Cite

Suter, C. M. and Weston, A. W. 2011. Direct Sulfonation of Aromatic Hydrocarbons and their Halogen Derivatives. Organic Reactions. 3:4:141–197.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Winthrop Chemical Company

  2. 2

    Abbott Laboratories

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2011

Chemistry Terms

Choose one or more boxes to highlight terms.


This chapter deals with the direct replacement of the hydrogen atoms in aromatic hydrocarbons, and their halogen derivatives by sulfonic acid, sulfonyl chloride, and sulfonyl fluoride groups. These sulfonations are more convenient and much more commonly used than indirect synthetic methods such as those that involve the reaction of an aryl halide with a sulfite, the oxidation of a disulfide, thiol, or sulfinic acid, or the conversion of a diazonium salt into a sulfonic acid. The reagents most used for direct sulfonation are sulfuric acid, sulfur trioxide in an inert solvent, in sulfuric as oleum, or an addition product with pyridine or dioxane, Chlorosulfonic acid, its salts and its anhydride and flurosulfonic acid. Combinations of reagents have been used.


  • direct sulfonation;
  • aromatic hydrocarbons;
  • halogen derivatives;
  • sulfuric acid;
  • sulfur trioxide;
  • side reactions;
  • applications;
  • sulfonic acids;
  • experimental procedures