Salicylic Acid (a.k.a. 2-Hydroxybenzoic Acid) is an aromatic acid, with a an hydroxyl group in the ortho position to the carboxyl group. Thus, this molecule combines the properties of phenols with those of aromatic carboxylic acids. Salicylic Acid appears as white crystals or fine needles, poorly soluble in water, but soluble in ether, carbon tetrachloride, benzene, toluene, alcohols, and acetone. In nature, Salicylic Acid is present from the bark of the white willow and wintergreen leaves. Industrially, it is produced by the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction, where phenol is mixed with hot aqueous caustic, yielding sodium phenate, which is then reacted with dry carbon dioxide, forming sodium salicylate. This intermediate is then acidified with mineral acid, resulting in Salicylic Acid.
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