Toluene, also known as methylbenzene, or Toluol, is a clear water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners, reminiscent of the related compound benzene. It is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is widely used as an industrial feedstock and as a solvent.
Toluene is a common solvent, able to dissolve paints, paint thinners, silicone sealants, many chemical reactants, rubber, printing ink, adhesives (glues), lacquers,leather tanners, and disinfectants. It can also be used as a fullerene indicator, and is a raw material for toluene diisocyanate (used in the manufacture of polyurethanefoam.
It is also used as a cement for fine polystyrene kits (by dissolving and then fusing surfaces) as it can be applied very precisely by brush and contains none of the bulk of an adhesive.
Industrial uses of toluene include dealkylation to benzene, and the disproportionation to a mixture of benzene and xylene in the BTX process. When oxidized it yields benzaldehyde and benzoic acid, two important intermediates in chemistry. It is also used as a carbon source for making Multi-Wall Carbon Nanotubes. Toluene can be used to break open red blood cells in order to extract hemoglobin in biochemistry experiments.
Toluene can be used as an octane booster in gasoline fuels used in internal combustion engines. Toluene at 86% by volume fueled all the turbo Formula 1 teams in the 1980s, first pioneered by the Honda team. The remaining 14% was a "filler" of n-heptane, to reduce the octane to meet Formula 1 fuel restrictions. Toluene at 100% can be used as a fuel for both two-stroke and four-stroke engines; however, due to the density of the fuel and other factors, the fuel does not vaporize easily unless preheated to 70 degrees Celsius (Honda accomplished this in their Formula 1 cars by routing the fuel lines through the muffler system to heat the fuel). Toluene also poses similar problems as alcohol fuels, as it eats through standard rubber fuel lines and has no lubricating properties as standard gasoline does, which can break down fuel pumps and cause upper cylinder bore wear.
*Uses Taken from Wikkepedia – Please ensure is right for your own use*