BlogNEETUses of Hydrogen Peroxide

Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide

At room temperature, hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid with a harsh flavor. In the air, small levels of gaseous hydrogen peroxide occur naturally. With the evolution of heat, hydrogen peroxide decomposes swiftly to oxygen and water. It is a potent oxidizing agent that can generate spontaneous combustion when it comes into touch with organic material, despite being non-flammable. Many households have low quantities of hydrogen peroxide (3-9 percent) for medicinal purposes and as clothing and hair bleach. Higher quantities of hydrogen peroxide are used in industry as a bleach for textiles and paper, as a component of rocket fuels, and for the manufacture of foam rubber and organic compounds.

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    A brief outline

    Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant, antiviral, antibacterial peroxide, and oxidizing agent. Hydrogen peroxide exerts its oxidizing activity and creates free radicals when rinsed and gargled or applied topically, causing oxidative damage to proteins and membrane lipids. This has the potential to inactivate and destroy germs, as well as prevent infection from spreading. At low temperatures, stable hydrogen peroxide manifests as a crystalline solid. It has an odour that is slightly unpleasant and annoying. As a source of organic and inorganic peroxides, it is used in the bleaching and deodorizing of textiles, wood pulp, hair, fur, and other materials; pulp and paper industry. It’s usually kept in the dark bottle with a stabilizer in a mildly acidic solution to keep light out. The human body contains hydrogen peroxide, which is found in biological systems. Peroxidases are enzymes that utilize or break down hydrogen peroxide.

    Important concepts


    H2O2 has been calculated to have a boiling point of 150.2 °C (302.4 °F), which is around 50 °C (90 °F) higher than water. In practice, if hydrogen peroxide is heated to this temperature, it will undergo possibly explosive thermal breakdown. It may be distilled safely at lower temperatures and at lower pressure.

    Structure of Hydrogen peroxide

    • Paul-Antoine Giguère used infrared spectroscopy to demonstrate that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a nonplanar molecule having (twisted) C2 symmetry for the first time in 1950.
    • Despite the fact that the OO bond is a single bond, the molecule has a relatively high rotating barrier of 386 cm1 (4.62 kJ/mol) in the trans configuration and 2460 cm1 (29.4 kJ/mol) in the cis configuration for rotation between enantiomers.
    • These barriers are thought to be caused by repulsion between neighbouring oxygen atoms’ lone pairs and dipolar effects between the two O–H bonds. The rotational barrier for ethane is 1040 cm1 (12.4 kJ/mol), for example.
    • The molecule is chiral due to the approximately 100° dihedral angle between the two O–H bonds. Enantiomers occur in the smallest and most basic molecules. It has been suggested that enantiospecific interactions of one enantiomeric form of ribonucleic acids led to amplification of one enantiomeric version of ribonucleic acids and hence an origin of homochirality in an RNA universe.
    • Gaseous and crystalline H2O 2 have vastly different molecular structures. The actions of hydrogen bonding, which are absent in the gaseous form, are responsible for the difference.

    Hydrogen peroxide solution Uses

    • Bleaching

    Hydrogen peroxide is used for pulp and paper bleaching in about 60% of the world’s production. The production of sodium percarbonate and sodium perborate, which could be used as mild bleaches in laundry detergents, is the second significant industrial application. The active ingredient in laundry detergents like OxiClean and Tide is sodium percarbonate, which is an adduct of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. It produces hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate when dissolved in water. Because these bleaching chemicals are only efficient at wash temperatures of 60 °C (140 °F) or higher when used alone, they are frequently combined with bleach activators, which allow for cleaning at lower temperatures. It’s also been used as a whitening agent for flour.

    • Organic compound production

    It’s used to make a variety of organic peroxides, with dibenzoyl peroxide being one of the most common. Hydrogen peroxide is also used to make peroxy acids such as peracetic acid and meta-chloroperoxybenzoic acid. Organic peroxide-based explosives, such as acetone peroxide, have been made with hydrogen peroxide. It is utilized as a polymerization initiator.

    • Treatment of sewage

    In some waste-water treatment methods, hydrogen peroxide is utilized to eliminate organic contaminants. The Fenton reaction produces the extremely reactive hydroxyl radical (OH) in advanced oxidation processing. Organic substances, especially those that are normally resistant, such as aromatic or halogenated compounds, are degraded as a result of this. It can also oxidize sulfur-based compounds in the trash, which is advantageous because it lessens odour.

    • Hydrogen peroxide for wounds

    Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a topical antiseptic that kills bacteria by causing an oxidation burst and producing local oxygen. H2O2 is a reactive biochemical molecule produced by various cells that influences biological behaviour through a variety of mechanisms, including changes in membrane potential, the generation of new molecules, and changes in intracellular redox balance, all of which result in the activation or inactivation of various signaling transduction pathways. It is effective against bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungus, and spores and has a broad spectrum of activity. It has long been used to sterilize surfaces and surgical instruments, and since it is broken down into oxygen and water, it is considered a safer alternative to chlorine-based bleaches.

    Hydrogen peroxide must be stored away from flammable or combustible materials in a cold, dry, well-ventilated place. It needs to be kept in a container made of non-reactive materials like stainless steel or glass. It should be stored in an opaque container because it degrades quickly when exposed to light, and pharmaceutical formulations are often packaged in dark brown vials that block light. Swallowing hydrogen peroxide solutions is especially risky since decomposition in the stomach generates a lot of gas, causing internal bloating. Inhaling more than 10% can cause serious lung inflammation.

    Significance of hydrogen peroxide in NEET exam

    Infinity Learn offers a wide range of resources to assist students in learning each subject in a systematic manner. Students can also learn more about the subject by using the self-study materials provided. There are sample question sets available that can be used to practice additional questions and improve test preparation. Any student can receive access to these resources by enrolling on the website, which is absolutely free. The rest of the study materials can also be downloaded for free.

    Also read: Physical Properties of Water

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is it safe for me to put Hydrogen Peroxide on my skin?

    A fast internet search for utilizing Hydrogen Peroxide for your skin will yield a variety of contradictory and usually perplexing results. It's marketed as an acne treatment and a skin lightener by some drugstores. It's occasionally used as a detergent, but when it comes into contact with your skin, it can cause serious negative effects. Hydrogen peroxide is used to clean shells, disinfect instruments, and bleach hair. It's also good for oral hygiene and gardening. It could be unsettling to learn that a popular skin therapy could also be used as a makeup remover.

    What are the dangers of consuming hydrogen peroxide?

    Despite the claimed benefits of drinking Hydrogen Peroxide, exploration and medical professionals concur that it can have major adverse effects. When you drink Hydrogen Peroxide, it combines with a natural enzyme in your body, releasing massive amounts of oxygen. When the amount of oxygen created is too great to physically burp out, it can pass over into your blood vessels, causing issues such as heart attacks or strokes.

    What are the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide?

    The antibacterial chemical hydrogen peroxide is widely utilized. It's utilized as a preservative, disinfectant, and sterilizer in both liquid and gas form. Its benefits include powerful and broad diapason antibacterial activity, inflexibility in the application, and a low-risk profile compared to other microbicides. Depending on the exact application of the chemical, hydrogen peroxide has been found to be effective against all types of microorganisms, including latent forms with known high resilience, such as bacterial spores and protozoal excrescences, as well as contagious proteins, such as prions.


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