What is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with the formula H2O2. In its pure form, it is a light blue liquid that is less fluid than water. Alexander von Humboldt discovered barium peroxide, one of the first synthetic peroxides, in 1799 as a byproduct of his attempts to decompose air. Nineteen years later, Louis Jacques Thénard named this compound eau oxygénée (“oxygenated water”) and realized that it could be used to prepare a previously unknown compound later known as hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is used as an oxidizer, bleaching agent and antiseptic. Concentrated hydrogen peroxide, or “high-test peroxide,” is a reactive oxygen species and has been used as a propellant in rocketry.
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide (a compound with an oxygen-oxygen single bond). It is unstable and decomposes slowly in the presence of light. Due to its instability, hydrogen peroxide is typically stored with a stabilizer in a weakly acidic solution in a dark bottle. Hydrogen peroxide is found in biological systems, including the human body. Enzymes that use or decompose hydrogen peroxide are classified as peroxidases.
The boiling point of H2O2 has been estimated at 150.2 °C (302.4 °F), about 50 °C (90 °F) higher than water. In practice, hydrogen peroxide will undergo potentially explosive thermal decomposition when heated to this temperature. It can be safely distilled at lower temperatures under reduced pressure.
How is Hydrogen Peroxide produced?
Almost all of the hydrogen peroxide on the market is produced by the anthraquinone process developed by the German chemical company BASF and patented in 1939. Production begins with the reduction of an anthraquinone to the corresponding anthrahydroquinone by hydrogenation over a palladium catalyst. In the presence of oxygen, anthrahydroquinone then undergoes autoxidation: the labile hydrogen atoms of the hydroxy groups are transferred to the oxygen molecule to yield hydrogen peroxide and regenerate the anthraquinone. Most commercial processes achieve oxidation by bubbling compressed air through an anthrahydroquinone solution, with hydrogen peroxide then extracted from the solution and anthraquinone recycled for successive hydrogenation and oxidation cycles.
H2 + it2 → H2HE2
What does Hydrogen Peroxide look like?
A blue, gel-like liquid that is less fluid than water
What is the molecular formula of Hydrogen Peroxide?
Molecular formula: H2HE2
In which sectors is Hydrogen Peroxide used?
- As a whitening & bleaching agent
- As a disinfectant
- As a bloodstain remover
- To whiten teeth and hair
- As a propellant in rockets
- Horticulture and irrigation systems
What are the uses (processes) of Hydrogen Peroxide?
- Approximately % 60 of the world's hydrogen peroxide production is used for pulp and paper bleaching.
- The second major industrial application is the production of sodium percarbonate and sodium perborate, which are used as mild bleaches in laundry detergents.
- It is used in the production of dibenzoyl peroxide and various organic peroxides.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be used to treat acne, although benzoyl peroxide is the more common treatment.
- Peroxy acids such as peracetic acid and meta-chloroperoxybenzoic acid are also produced using hydrogen peroxide.
- Hydrogen peroxide has been used to create organic peroxide-based explosives, such as acetone peroxide.
- Hydrogen peroxide is used in certain wastewater treatment processes to remove organic impurities.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be used to sterilize a variety of surfaces, including surgical instruments, and can be used as a steam for room sterilization.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a fresh blood stain cleaning agent.
- Hydrogen peroxide has several domestic uses, primarily as a cleaning and disinfecting agent.
- Hydrogen peroxide can be mixed with aqueous ammonia and used to bleach hair color.
- Hydrogen peroxide is mixed with soda and salt to make homemade toothpaste and whiten teeth.
- Hydrogen peroxide reacts with certain diesters such as phenyl oxalate ester (cyalume) to produce chemiluminescence; This application is mostly seen in the form of glow sticks.
- Some gardeners and hydroponic users recommend using a weak hydrogen peroxide solution in their irrigation solution.
- Hydrogen peroxide is used in aquaculture to control mortality caused by various microbes.
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