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What is Peroxide?

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Peroxide is defined as any class of chemical compounds where two oxygen atoms are linked together by a single covalent bond. Many organic and inorganic peroxides are useful as bleaching agents, polymerization reaction initiators, and in the preparation of hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen dioxide, and other oxygen compounds. Inorganic compounds that can be called very weak acid hydrogen peroxide salts contain the negatively charged peroxide ion (O22-).


About Peroxide

Peroxides are the group of compounds having the structure R−O−O−R. The O−O the group present in the peroxide is called either the peroxo group or peroxide group. In contrast to the oxide ions, the oxygen atoms present in the peroxide ion contain an oxidation number of '−1.'

The most common peroxide is given as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is colloquially called simply "peroxide". It is also marketed as a solution in water at different concentrations. Since the hydrogen peroxide is approximately colourless, so are these solutions. It is majorly used as a bleaching agent and oxidant. However, hydrogen peroxide is also produced biochemically in the human body, largely as a result of the oxidase enzyme range. And, the concentrated solutions are potentially dangerous when in contact with organic compounds.

Aside from the hydrogen peroxide compound, a few other major classes of peroxides are given as:

  • Peroxy acids, which are the peroxy derivatives of several familiar acids, examples being peracetic acid, peroxy mono-sulfuric acid, and their salts, an example of which is given as potassium peroxy disulfate.

  • Primary group peroxides, compounds with the linkage of E−O−O−E (E = main group element).

  • Metal peroxides, which are the examples being sodium peroxide (Na2O2), barium peroxide (BaO2), and zinc peroxide (ZnO2).

  • Organic peroxides, which are the compounds with the linkage of either C−O−O−H or C−O−O−C. An example is given as tert-butyl hydroperoxide.

Categories of Peroxides

A chemical compound that contains two oxygen atoms, each of which is bonded to the other and either to a radical or some element other than oxygen; the atoms in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), for example, are connected together in a chain-like structure H-O-O-H. Peroxides are unstable compounds, and when heated, they release oxygen and are also powerful oxidizing agents. Peroxides can be formed directly by the reaction of a compound or element with oxygen.

  • They are short for hydrogen peroxide, especially when used for bleaching hair.

  • Any of the metallic oxide classes such as Na2O2- Sodium Peroxide, which contains the divalent ion --O-O--.

  • Some of the certain dioxides, such as MnO2 - Manganese Peroxide, that resemble the peroxides in their formula, but they do not contain the --O-O-- ion.

  • Any of the organic compound class, whose molecules have two oxygen atoms bound together, tends to be explosive. A peroxide is a compound that contains either the peroxide anion or the oxygen–oxygen single bond.

The O−O the group is known as either the peroxo group or the peroxide group. In contrast to the oxide ions, the oxygen atoms present in the peroxide ion contain an oxidation state of '−1.'

Peroxides also have a bleaching effect on the organic substances and thus are added to a few hair colourants and detergents. The other large-scale applications are given as chemical and medicine industry, where the peroxides can be used in different synthesis reactions or take place as intermediate products.


Examples of Peroxides

Examples of peroxide are given as sodium peroxide (Na2O2), which is a bleaching agent, and barium peroxide (BaO2) and is formerly used as a hydrogen peroxide source. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a simple peroxide compound.

The other inorganic peroxides (other than hydrogen peroxide) are known compounds. These are further classified as either covalent peroxides or ionic peroxides. Covalent peroxides are hydrogen peroxide and peroxymonosulfuric acid (H2SO5). Ionic peroxides contain alkaline earth ions or alkali metal ions as their cations.

Technically ozone, superoxides, dioxygenyls, and ozonides are peroxide compounds, but they tend to be considered separately due to their special characteristics.


Peroxide Occurrence

Peroxides take place naturally in fewer amounts in animals and plants, water, and the atmosphere. In some animals and humans, hydrogen peroxide is defined as a by-product of biochemical reactions. This chemical is short-lived but it is toxic to cells due to its ability to oxidize DNA, membrane lipids, and proteins. And, this toxicity makes use of hydrogen peroxide disinfectant, helps to kill bacteria and other pathogens. However, approximately all the eukaryotic cells purposely form peroxide in the organelles, which are called peroxisomes. Peroxisomes can be used for catabolism of D-amino acids, fatty acids, and polyamines and for the biosynthesis of compounds that are essential for normal brain and lung function.


Uses of Peroxide

Toxins in the liver and kidney cells are neutralised by the enzyme catalase, which uses peroxide to oxidise the substrates. For example, in this manner, humans are able to metabolize the ethanol into acetaldehyde.

Plants also use hydrogen peroxide as a signalling chemical, indicating the defense against pathogens.

A few peroxides can decolourize or bleach the organic molecules so that they can be added to hair colourants and cleaning agents.

Peroxides can be widely used to synthesize drugs and a few other chemicals.

The bombardier beetle stores both hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide in the abdominal reservoirs. When the beetle gets threatened, it together mixes the chemicals, resulting in an exothermic reaction, which enables the beetle to squirt boiling-hot, smelly liquid at a threat.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Meant By the Peroxide Effect?

Answer: When any unsymmetrical reagent is treated with the unsymmetrical alkene in the presence of peroxide, then an addition occurs against Markownikoff's rule. It means the negative part of the reagent adds to that carbon-carbon double bond that carries more hydrogen atom count. This is called the peroxide effect.

2. What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Answer: Hydrogen peroxide is defined as a chemical compound having the chemical formula H2O2. It is a colourless liquid in its pure form, which is slightly more viscous than water. However, for some safety reasons, it is commonly used as an aqueous solution. Hydrogen peroxide is given as the simplest peroxide, having the oxygen-oxygen single bond and finds use as a bleaching agent, disinfectant, and strong oxidizer. Simultaneously, concentrated 'high-test peroxide,' or hydrogen peroxide, is a reactive oxygen species that has been used as a rocket propellant.

3. What is Superoxide?

Answer: Superoxides are the compounds that contain the anion O2-. The electrical charge of these superoxide ions is -1. Only alkali metals are capable of forming superoxide compounds. NaO2 is an example of superoxide compounds.

4. Differentiate Between Peroxide and Superoxide?

Answer: Peroxide and superoxide are given as the oxides containing oxygen atoms. The primary difference between these both is: oxidation state of oxygen in peroxide is -1; on the other side, the oxidation state of oxygen in superoxide is given as -1/2.