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Nitration of Benzene
Benzene can be nitrated without actually destroying its aromatic character. By mixing benzene with nitric acid in the presence of sulfuric acid, we can convert benzene into nitrobenzene. In the first and second step, nitric acid reacts with sulfuric acid to produce a good electrophile (strong Lewis acid). This electrophile can then react with the benzene molecule to produce the resonance stabilized structure that contains the nitrate group. In the final step, the aromatic ring on benzene is reformed and the catalyst is regenerated.
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