Hydrogen Peroxide [H2O2]
H2O2 was discovered by J.L. Thenard in 1818. It is an important compound used in pollution control treatment of domestic and industrial effluents.
Methods of Preparation:
Strength of Hydrogen Peroxide:
The most common method to express the strength of H2O2 is in terms of the volume (in mL) of oxygen liberated at NTP by decomposition of 1 mL of that sample of H2O2. A solution of H2O2 labelled as ’10 volume’ actually means “1 mL of such a solution of H2O2 on decomposition by heat produces 10 mL of oxygen at NTP”.
(i) Strength of H2O2 in terms of normality:
(68 x X/22.4) = 17 x N ⇒ X = 5.6 x N
where, X is volume strength of H2O2.
(ii) % strength = (17/56) x volume strength
(iii) X = 11.2 x molarity.
Storage of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2):
It is stored in the presence of traces of alcohol, acetanilide or sodium pyrophosphate which slows down the rate of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.
Chemical Properties of H2O2:
(i) Acidic nature- It is weakly acidic in nature and pure hydrogen peroxide turns blue litmus red.
(ii) Oxidising agent- It acts as a strong oxidising agent in acidic as well as in basic medium.
e.g., oxidising action of H2O2 is:
(iii) Reducing agent-
(a) In acidic medium
(b) In basic medium
(iv) Bleaching properties- Its bleaching action is due to oxidation by atomic oxygen and permanent.
H2O2 → H2O + [O]
dye + [O] → dye is oxidised and bleached.
Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide:
1) The most important industrial use of hydrogen peroxide is as a bleaching agent for delicate materials like Silk, wool, paper pulp, straw, oils and fats.
2) It is used as a hair bleach and as a mild disinfectant.
3) It is extensively used to manufacture inorganic chemicals like sodium perborate and percarbonate which are important constituents of good quality detergents.
4) In the production of epoxides, propylene oxide and polyurethane.
5) Hydrogen peroxide is also used in the synthesis of hydroquinone, pharmaceuticals like cephalosporin and food products.
6) It is increasingly being used in Environmental chemistry to control pollution by treatment of domestic and industrial effluents, oxidation of cyanide and restoration of aerobic conditions to sewage waste.
7) It is used as an antiseptic under the name perhydrol for washing wounds, teeth and ears.
8) It is used for restoring the colour of lead paint which have blackened due to action of H2S present in the air on lead paints.
9) It is used in laboratory for detecting the presence of chromium, titanium and vanadium salts with which it yields peroxides of characteristic colours.
10) 93% hydrogen peroxide solution is used as an oxidant for rocket fuel and as a propellant.
11) It is used as antichlor in textile industry to remove excess of chlorine after bleaching operations.
12) A mixture of hydrazine hydrate and hydrogen peroxide with copper catalyst is used as a rocket propellant.