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hydrogen peroxide

Product name hydrogen peroxide
GOST 10929-76
CAS 7722-84-1

Hydrogen peroxide H2O2 is a very pale blue odorless liquid which appears colourless in a dilute solution, slightly more viscous than water. It is fully miscible in water, soluble in alcohols, diethyl ether. Was first isolated in 1818 by Louis Jacques Thenard by reacting barium peroxide with nitric acid. Hydrogen peroxide molecule adopts a "skewed" conformation due to repulsion between the lone pairs of oxygen atoms.
Hydrogen peroxide forms crystalline solvates with a number of organic and inorganic compounds. These adducts (i.e. Na2CO3*1.5H2O2, H2NC(O)NH2*H2O2) can be used as a crystalline source of hydrogen peroxide.

Pure hydrogen peroxide is a kinetically stable compound: only about 0.5% of initial amount decomposes at 20°C per year. The rate of decomposition rises with the temperature and concentration of the peroxide, also it is dependent on pH, light and impurities of ions of most transition metals. The products of decomposition are water and oxygen gas. It usually acts as an oxidizing agent, but there are many reactions where it acts as a reducing agent. It is one of the most powerful oxidizers known - stronger than chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and potassium permanganate. In acid solution sulfite SO32- is oxidized to sulfate SO42-, iodides I- to iodine I2, Ti3+ to Ti4+, benzene is oxidized to phenol, aniline to azoxybenzene, thioethers to sulfoxides and sulfones. Alkaline hydrogen peroxide oxidize Mn2+ to Mn4+. Many organic compounds are underwent a destuctive oxidation.

As a reducing agent hydrogen peroxide converts silver oxide Ag2O to metal silver, Ce4+ to Ce3+, acidic H2O2 reduces permanganate anion MnO4- to Mn2+.

Alkaline hydrogen peroxide is used as epoxidating agent for electron-deficient alkenes such as acrylic acids, and also for oxidation of alkylboranes to alcohols.

Hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid, so it has a relatively labile hydrogen atom. It can form hydroperoxide or peroxide salts or derivatives of many metals. Also it converts carboxylic acids RCOOH into peroxy acids RCOOOH; alcohols into alkyl hydroperoxides and dialkyl peroxides:

ButOH + HOOH --> ButOOH + H2O
ButOOH + ButOH --> ButOOBut + H2O

Concentrated hydrogen peroxide solutions are highly dangerous and can can form sensitive contact explosives with organic compounds such as greases. Hazardous reactions ranging from ignition to explosion have been reported with alcohols, ketones, carboxylic acids (particularly acetic acid), amines and phosphorus. To prevent explosion commercial hydrogen peroxide is stabilized with sodium pyrophosphate, sodium stannate or acetanilide. Concentrated hydrogen peroxide (>30%) is corrosive, and even domestic-strength solutions can cause irritation to the eyes, mucous membranes and skin.

Hydrogen peroxides are marketed in concentration of 3-90% by wt as a solution in water. 30% solution is called perhydrol.


  • Most of hydrogen peroxide is produced industrially by autooxidation of 2-alkyl anthrahydroquinones, such as 2-ethyl, 2-tert-butyl and 2-pentyl- derivatives. Process is conducted in benzene - secondary alcohols mixture, target product is extracted with water then is distilled and rectified. Alkyl anthraquinones are reduced with hydrogen on nickel or platinum catalysts and recycled:

    Hydrogen peroxide manufacturing by oxidation of alkyl anthrahydroquinones

  • by autocatalytic isopropanol oxidation in liquid phase at 90-140°C and 0.2-0.3MPa. Final products of this process are hydrogen peroxide and acetone:

    (CH3)2CHOH + O2 --> (CH3)2C=O + H2O2

  • The anode oxidation of diluted aqueous solution of sulfuric acid or acidic ammonium bisulfate (archaic route):

    2H2SO4 - 2e- --> H2S2O8 + 2H+
    H2S2O8 + H2O --> H2S2O5 + H2SO4
    H2S2O5 + H2O --> H2O2 + H2SO4


  • as an antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent for medical uses;
  • for industrial and domestic waste water desinfection and sterilization;
  • in chemical industry as reagent in making organic and inorganic peroxides, sodium perborate and percarbonate, a bleach used in laundry detergents;
  • in manufacturing epoxides, hydroquinone, catechol, ethylene glycol, glycerol and other organic products;
  • as a bleaching agent for oils, fats, furs, leather, textiles, pulp and paper;
  • in mining industry for extraction uranium from ores (converts unsoluble UO2 into soluble UO4);
  • as a reagent in analytical chemistry and oxidizing agent in a laboratory organic synthesis;
  • in rocketry (particularly in high concentrations as high-test peroxide (HTP) as a monopropellant), and in bipropellant systems;
  • as an reserve oxygen source on submarines;
  • to bleach human hair;

  • Manufacturer(s) JSC Khimprom
    Kuibyshevsky Chemical Plant
    JSC Sintez
    Chemical structure of hydrogen peroxide

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