Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with the formula
2. In its pure form, it is a very pale blue liquid, slightly more viscous than water. Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide (a compound with an oxygenâoxygen single bond). 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 nature of its unstable peroxide bond.
Hydrogen peroxide is unstable and slowly decomposes in the presence of light. Because of its instability, hydrogen peroxide is typically stored with a stabilizer in a weakly acidic solution in a dark coloured bottle. Hydrogen peroxide is found in biological systems including the human body. Enzymes that use or decompose hydrogen peroxide are classified as peroxidases.
About 60% of the world's production of hydrogen peroxide is used for pulp- and paper-bleaching.. The second major industrial application is the manufacture of sodium percarbonate and sodium perborate, which are used as mild bleaches in laundry detergents. Sodium percarbonate, which is an adduct of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide, is the active ingredient in such laundry products as OxiClean and Tide laundry detergent. When dissolved in water, it releases hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate, By themselves these bleaching agents are only effective at wash temperatures of 60 Â°C (140 Â°F) or above and so, often are used in conjunction with bleach activators, which facilitate cleaning at lower temperatures.
It is used in the production of various organic peroxides with dibenzoyl peroxide being a high volume example. It is used in polymerisations, as a flour bleaching agent, and as a treatment for acne. Peroxy acids, such as peracetic acid and meta-chloroperoxybenzoic acid also are produced using hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has been used for creating organic peroxide-based explosives, such as acetone peroxide.
Skin shortly after exposure to 35%
Contact lenses soaking in a 3% hydrogen peroxide-based solution. The case includes a catalytic disc which neutralises the hydrogen peroxide over time.
Hydrogen peroxide is used in certain waste-water treatment processes to remove organic impurities. In advanced oxidation processing, the Fenton reaction gives the highly reactive hydroxyl radical (Â·OH). This degrades organic compounds, including those that are ordinarily robust, such as aromatic or halogenated compounds. It can also oxidize sulfur based compounds present in the waste; which is beneficial as it generally reduces their odour.
Hydrogen peroxide may be used for the sterilization of various surfaces, including surgical tools, and may be deployed as a vapour (VHP) for room sterilization. H2O2 demonstrates broad-spectrum efficacy against viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and bacterial spores. In general, greater activity is seen against Gram-positive than Gram-negative bacteria; however, the presence of catalase or other peroxidases in these organisms may increase tolerance in the presence of lower concentrations. Lower levels of concentration (3%) will work against most spores; higher concentrations (7 to 30%) and longer contact times will improve sporicidal activity.
Hydrogen peroxide is seen as an environmentally safe alternative to chlorine-based bleaches, as it degrades to form oxygen and water and it is generally recognized as safe as an antimicrobial agent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Chemiluminescence of cyalume, as found in a glow stick
Hydrogen peroxide has various domestic uses, primarily as a cleaning and disinfecting agent.
2 (between 1.9% and 12%) mixed with aqueous ammonia has been used to bleach human hair. The chemical's bleaching property lends its name to the phrase "peroxide blonde". Hydrogen peroxide is also used for tooth whitening. It may be found in most whitening toothpastes. Hydrogen peroxide has shown positive results involving teeth lightness and chroma shade parameters.[2O
2 is referred to as "high-test peroxide" (HTP). It can be used either as a monopropellant (not mixed with fuel) or as the oxidizer component of a bipropellant rocket. Use as a monopropellant takes advantage of the decomposition of 70â98% concentration hydrogen peroxide into steam and oxygen. The propellant is pumped into a reaction chamber, where a catalyst, usually a silver or platinum screen, triggers decomposition, producing steam at over 600 Â°C (1,112 Â°F), which is expelled through a nozzle, generating thrust.
2 monopropellant produces a maximal specific impulse (Isp) of 161 s (1.6 kNÂ·s/kg). Peroxide was the first major monopropellant adopted for use in rocket applications. Hydrazine eventually replaced hydrogen-peroxide monopropellant thruster applications primarily because of a 25% increase in the vacuum specific impulse. Hydrazine (toxic) and hydrogen peroxide (less-toxic [ACGIH TLV 0.01 and 1 ppm respectively]) are the only two monopropellants (other than cold gases) to have been widely adopted and utilized for propulsion and power applications.[
2 is decomposed to burn a fuel as an oxidizer. Specific impulses as high as 350 s (3.5 kNÂ·s/kg) can be achieved, depending on the fuel. Peroxide used as an oxidizer gives a somewhat lower Isp than liquid oxygen, but is dense, storable, non-cryogenic and can be more easily used to drive gas turbines to give high pressures using an efficient closed cycle. It may also be used for regenerative cooling of rocket engines. Peroxide was used very successfully as an oxidizer in World War II German rocket motors (e.g. T-Stoff, containing oxyquinoline stabilizer, for both the Walter HWK 109-500 Starthilfe RATO externally podded monopropellant booster system, and for the Walter HWK 109-509 rocket motor series used for the Me 163B), most often used with C-Stoff in a self-igniting hypergolic combination, and for the low-cost British Black Knight and Black Arrow launchers.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the Hellmuth Walter KG-conceived turbine used hydrogen peroxide for use in submarines while submerged; it was found to be too noisy and require too much maintenance compared to diesel-electric power systems. Some torpedoes used hydrogen peroxide as oxidizer or propellant. Operator error in the use of hydrogen-peroxide torpedoes was named as possible causes for the sinking of HMS Sidon and the Russian submarine Kursk. SAAB Underwater Systems is manufacturing the Torpedo 2000. This torpedo, used by the Swedish Navy, is powered by a piston engine propelled by HTP as an oxidizer and kerosene as a fuel in a bipropellant system.
Some horticulturalists and users of hydroponics advocate the use of weak hydrogen peroxide solution in watering solutions. Its spontaneous decomposition releases oxygen that enhances a plant's root development and helps to treat root rot (cellular root death due to lack of oxygen) and a variety of other pests.
Hydrogen peroxide is used in aquaculture for controlling mortality caused by various microbes. In 2019, the U.S. FDA approved it for control of Saprolegniasis in all coldwater finfish and all fingerling and adult coolwater and warmwater finfish, for control of external columnaris disease in warm-water finfish, and for control of Gyrodactylus spp. in freshwater-reared salmonids. Laboratory tests conducted by fish culturists have demonstrated that common household hydrogen peroxide may be used safely to provide oxygen for small fish. The hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen by decomposition when it is exposed to catalysts such as manganese dioxide.