Distribution coefficients (K/sub D/) were measured by equilibrating a coal oil comparative reference material (CRM-1) with water and then separating the oil and water phases. Aqueous phase concentrations were determined by direct analysis of this phase, while organic phase concentrations were determined from the original oil composition by difference. The log K/sub D/ values obtained for acidic and basic components were generally <3, while those for the neutral components ranged from 3 to 6. For aromatic hydrocarbons, strong correlations were observed between log K/sub D/ and log S/sub w/ (water solubility), and between log K/sub D/ and log K/sub o//sub w/ (octanol/water partition coefficient). Alkylated benzenes had significantly higher K/sub D/s than did unsubstituted aromatics of similar molecular weight. Examination of homologs revealed an increase of 0.307 log K/sub D/ units per additional carbon atom for polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons having from 10 to 16 carbons. Alkyl substituent effects determined for various sets of homologs ranged from 0.391 to 0.466 log K/sub d/ units per -CH/sub 2/- group added. 38 refs., 5 figs., 7 tabs.