Hydrogen Peroxide

From Cargo Handbook - the world's largest cargo transport guidelines website
Infobox on Hydrogen Peroxide
Example of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide.jpg
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text

Hydrogen Peroxide


Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is the simplest peroxide (a compound with an oxygen-oxygen single bond). It is also a strong oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colourless. Due to its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent. The oxidizing capacity of hydrogen peroxide is so strong that it is considered a highly reactive oxygen species. Concentrated hydrogen peroxide, or 'high-test peroxide', is therefore used as a propellant in rocketry. Organisms also naturally produce hydrogen peroxide as a by-product of oxidative metabolism. Consequently, nearly all living things (specifically, all obligate and facultative aerobes) possess enzymes known as catalase peroxidases, which harmlessly and catalytically decompose low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen.

a) Autoxidation of an alkyl anthrahydroquinone such as the 2-ethyl derivative in a cyclic continuous process in which the quinone formed in the oxidation step is reduced to the starting material by hydrogen in the presence of a supported palladium catalyst
b) By electrolytic processes in which aqueous sulphuric acid or acidic ammonium bisulfate is converted electrolytically to the peroxydisulfate, which is then hydrolysed to from hydrogen peroxide.
c) By autoxidation of isopropyl alcohol.

Method a) is most widely used.

Pure hydrogen peroxide solutions, completely free from contamination, are highly stable; a low percentage of an inhibitor such as acetanilide or sodium stannate, is usually added to counteract the catalytic effect of traces of impurities such as iron, copper, and other heavy metals. A relatively stable sample of hydrogen peroxide typically, decomposes at the rate of approximately 0,5% per year at room temperature.


Bleaching and deodorizing of textiles, wood pulp, hair, fur, etc.; source of organic and inorganic peroxides; pulp and paper industry; plasticizers; rocket fuel; foam rubber; manufacture of glycerol; antichlor; dyeing; electroplating; antiseptic; laboratory reagent; epoxidation; hydroxylation, oxidation, and reduction; viscosity control for starch and cellulose derivatives; refining and cleaning metals; bleaching and oxidizing agent in foods; neutralizing agent in wine distillation; seed disinfectant; substitute for chlorine in water and sewage treatment.

Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

A strong oxidizing agent shipped in light-resistant glass bottles, carboys and drums. Used in the textile and pulp and paper industries. Concentrated solutions are highly toxic and strong irritants.

When mixed with organic substances, explosions are liable to occur. When rapidly heated it may decompose suddenly. Is affected by light and should be kept in light-resistant containers at a temperature not above 35°C. When there is insufficient ullage in the containers, excessive heat will blow off corks and tops. High fire and explosion risk.

Reference is made to the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) Code and applicable MSDS sheet(s).

See also: http://www.chemicalland21.com/industrialchem/inorganic/HYDROGEN%20PEROXIDE.htm