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Hydrogen peroxide can be used as an oxidizer, and may enhance the oxidizing capabilities on mixing. For example, a mixture of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide will react faster than the acid alone. Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous as it can cause explosions when in contact with combustible materials in high concentration.
Hydrogen peroxide is tinted slightly blue in high concentrations. It has boiling and melting points similar to water, but can be concentrated by fractional crystallization.
Hydrogen peroxide is available readily as a disinfectant in pharmacies and grocery stores, but may only be obtained easily in low concentrations.
Higher concentration peroxide are available as animal disinfectant. Some, however, may contain peracetic acid, so read the label first.
- BaO2 + H2SO4 → H2O2 + BaSO4
The insoluble barium sulfate is filtered from the mixture.
- Make sulfuric acid
- Make peroxides
- Cleaning silver
- Make piranha solution
- Fenton's reagent
- Make copper etching solution
- Make rocket
As it is an oxidizer, high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can ignite or detonate combustible or explosive materials. Lower concentrations are much safer, but regardless of concentration, poisonous.
Hydrogen peroxide solutions are best stored in cold dark places, such as a fridge. High concentration peroxides are metastable and will slowly build-up pressure, so it's recommended to open the bottles from time to time, to release the pressure.
Hydrogen peroxide can be decomposed by adding a catalyst, such as manganese dioxide or iron oxides (ordinary rust will do). This method however should not be used to neutralize concentrated peroxide as the decomposition will generate lots of heat and can lead to explosion. The explosion that crippled the Kursk submarine for example, occured when the peroxide that leaked from a torpedo entered in contact with some rust. It's recommended to not be poured down the drain, as it will quickly decompose in the sewage and may pose an explosion hazard. Adding a sulfide, such as lead(II) sulfide, will result in lead(II) sulfate and water.