Difference Between Aryl and Phenyl

Key Difference – Aryl vs Phenyl

Aryl and Phenyl are two organic compounds that contain one or more aromatic ring system though there lies a difference between them as Phenyl is a subgroup of the aryl family. Phenyl can also be considered as the simplest member of the aryl group. The key difference between phenyl group and other aryl groups is that Phenyl compounds are derivatives of benzene while aryl compounds can be derivatives of phenyl, naphthyl, xylyl or thienyl.

All  these compounds have at least one unsaturated carbocyclic ring containing six Carbon atoms; each Carbon atom joins to two other Carbon atom by one single bond and one double bond (-C=C-C); forming a ring structure of an unsaturated Carbon system.

What are Aryl Compounds?

Aryl compounds are the organic molecules containing an aromatic ring. They can contain other functional groups or any other substituents such as phenyl (benzene), naphthyl (naphthalene), tolyl or xylyl compounds. The main property of aryl compounds is having one or more rings of Carbon atoms with alternating single and double bonds in their chemical structure. The ring system is said to be unsaturated due to the delocalized pi-electron system.

What are Phenyl Compounds?

The organic molecules in phenyl group have  cyclic structures with the molecular formula C6H5; this cyclic structure has a similar structure like benzene ring without one Hydrogen atom. The hydrogen atom in the benzene ring is replaced by other chemical substituents. There are both natural and synthetic compounds in phenyl group. Some of the synthetic products are commonly found in the polymer industry. In some phenyl compounds, there is more than one benzyl group in the structure.

Toluene has one phenyl group, but Triphenylmethane has three phenyl groups.

difference between aryl and phenylWhat is the difference between Aryl and Phenyl?

Definition of Aryl and Phenyl

Aryl Compounds: Aryl compounds contain an aromatic ring with one or more functional group(s) or substituents. The aromatic ring can be phenyl, naphthyl, tolyl or xylyl group.

Aromatic ring: Organic hydrocarbon molecules containing benzene or some other related ring structures.

Phenyl Compounds: Phenyl group is a member of the aryl group. It contains organic molecules derived from benzene. In other words, phenyl compounds are formed by replacing one of the Hydrogen atoms in the benzene ring by some other chemical species.

Properties of Aryl and Phenyl


Aryl Compounds:

                                                         Aryl groups
Phenyl group       – C6H5 Derived from benzene
xylyl group         – (CH3)2C6H3 Derived from xylene
tolyl group          – CH3C6H4 Derived from toluene
naphthyl              – C10H7 Derived from naphthalene

Aryl vs  Phenyl-aryl compounds

Phenyl Compounds: In phenyl compounds, the aromatic ring has the same structure as in benzene with one Hydrogen atom has removed from the ring. Examples: (Phenol, Toluene, Amino acid phenylalanine)

Aryl vs Phenyl-phenyl compoundsRing System

Aryl Compounds: In aryl compounds, the ring system can be either homocyclic (one ring system) or polycyclic. Those polycyclic rings can have ring structures attached to each other.

Phenyl Compounds: In phenyl compounds, they only have monocyclic ring systems; all these ring system is a derivative of benzene (-C6H5). They do not have macrocyclic or polycyclic rings.


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