Hydrogen Peroxide is a colorless liquid with the chemical formula H2O2.
Hydrogen Peroxide is a colorless liquid with the chemical formula H2O2. It is the simplest of the peroxides (oxygen-oxygen single bond) and is used as oxidizer, bleaching agent and disinfectant. Hydrogen peroxide is usually handled as an aqueous solution due to safety reasons. It is thermodynamically unstable and highly explosive when heated to boiling temperature (150°C). It can cause severe skin burns and set material alight. Most common concentrations are 3-6% for households and 20-50% for industrial and pharmaceutical use.
Hydrogen peroxide was first described in 1818, when it was produced by treating barium peroxide with nitric acid. Since 1936 though, it has been industrially produced by the so called anthraquinone process (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen peroxide). Today the world production of hydrogen peroxide is approx. 5mill ton of which almost 2mill ton goes to the pulp and paper bleaching industry.
Examples of applications
About 40% of the Hydrogen peroxide production goes to the Pulp and Paper industry where it is used for bleaching. Another major application is in the production of sodium percarbonate and perborate, which is used in laundry detergents. Hydrogen peroxide is also used in the water treatment industry, where it removes organic impurities. Finally it is used for bleaching of all textiles.
Food and pharma packaging
Hydrogen peroxide is used as a disinfectant in the food packaging and pharmaceutical industry. Prior to packaging of for example juice, the carton is sprayed or dipped in hydrogen peroxide in order to remove all traces of bacteria and yeasts.
Disinfection of wounds
At a very low concentrations Hydrogen peroxide can be used as disinfectant of wounds. However, due to negative side effects this method is not so widespread anymore.
Propulsion Hydrogen peroxide is also used as rocketfuel. At high purity (70-98%) it acts as either monopropellant where the H2O2 is decomposed to steam or as a bipropellant where it is decomposed to burn as fuel.
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