Hydrogen Peroxide: History, Properties and Uses

Hydrogen Peroxide: History, Properties and Uses

30 November 2021


The first synthetic peroxide was created in 1799 by Prussian scientist Alexander von Humboldt. This was barium peroxide, which was created as a byproduct of von Humboldt's air decomposition studies.


French chemist Louis Jacques Thénard utilised barium peroxide to create 'Eau oxygénée,' or oxygenated water, over two decades later. Hydrogen peroxide was later named after it. Chemists refined the methods and processes for producing hydrogen peroxide throughout the nineteenth century. Richard Wolffenstein, a German chemist, was the first to create pure hydrogen peroxide, using vacuum distillation to do so in 1894.


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The most basic of all peroxides is hydrogen peroxide. It's mostly a colourless and clear liquid. In its purest form, though, it can appear pale blue.


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It is also:

  • It has a little higher viscosity than water.
  • With twisted C2 symmetry, it's nonpolar.
  • In concentrations more than 8%, it is corrosive to the skin.
  • Instable in terms of thermodynamics


When subjected to heat, bases, or catalysts, hydrogen peroxide decomposes as an unstable chemical. As a result, it's normally maintained in a slightly acidic solution with a stabiliser.


Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile chemical that has a wide range of uses. It is utilised in a variety of sectors, including bleaching, where it accounts for 60% of global output.


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Hydrogen peroxide is often used in:

  • Paper, cotton, wood pulp, and other materials are bleached.
  • Detergents and disinfectants are examples of cleaning products.
  • Teeth whitening, hair bleaching, and acne treatment cosmetics
  • Chemiluminescence is produced by using it in glow sticks.


Alternative medicine practitioners may utilise hydrogen peroxide in the treatment of emphysema and even cancer.


However, there is no evidence to back up hydrogen peroxide's usefulness as a medicinal treatment. It's also worth remembering that large amounts of the chemical or extended exposure to it can be lethal.