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H₂O₂ introduction

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H₂O₂ introduction

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with the formula H2O2. In its pure form, it is a very pale blue liquid, slightly more viscous than water. It 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. Its chemistry is dominated by the O-O bond.

Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide (a compound with an oxygen–oxygen single bond). It slowly decomposes in the presence of light. Hydrogen peroxide is typically stored with a stabilizer in a weakly acidic solution in a dark colored bottle. Hydrogen peroxide is found in biological systems including the human body. Enzymes that use or decompose hydrogen peroxide are classified as peroxidases.


Pure hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid which is miscible with water.  It is often supplied as a 40%(w/w) solution but is also obtainable up to ca 70%(w/w).  It is used principally as a bleach.

Uses of hydrogen peroxide

The bleaching properties of hydrogen peroxide are used in many industries.  Perhaps its most familiar day-to-day use is in proprietary products used in washing clothes, for example in some forms of VanishTM.  Large quantities of hydrogen peroxide are used to make sodium perborate and sodium percarbonate, which are used as bleaching agents in liquid and solid detergents.  Sodium perborate, NaBO3.4H2O, is made by adding hydrogen peroxide to a solution of sodium metaborate and sodium hydroxide.  Sodium percarbonate is prepared by adding hydrogen peroxide to a solution of sodium carbonate.

Hydrogenation of an anthroquinone
Oxidation of the anthraquinol
Extraction of hydrogen peroxide solution
Purification and concentration of hydrogen peroxide

The main stages are:

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