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Calculating the concentration of hydrogen peroxide

Updated on March 31, 2010

 Hydrogen Peroxide was discovered by French Chemist J.L.Thenard in 1818. Large amounts of highly concentrated solutions of peroxide are required for commercial use. Hydrogen peroxide cannot be simply concentrated by distillation as it decomposes below its boiling point to water and oxygen. Hydrogen Peroxide is usually stored in wax coated plastic bottles which are dark in color.  A stabilizer is usually added to it to prevent decomposition.  Strength of hydrogen peroxide can be expressed as % strength or volume strength.

Expression of strength of Hydrogen peroxide
Expression of strength of Hydrogen peroxide
A hydrogen peroxide cosmetic product used in salons
A hydrogen peroxide cosmetic product used in salons

 The most important use of hydrogen peroxide in daily life is in salons as a hair bleach and as a disinfectant.  The hydrogen peroxide made availbale is a thick sryupy liquid.  It decomposes in the presence of light and is therefore stored in opaque bottles.  A stabilizer is usually added to prevent further decomposition.  The strength of anaqueous solution of H2O2   can be expressed either as -

% strength- (w/v)  It is the gms of H2O2 present in 100 mL of the solution

A 70%(w/v) soltion of H2O2 indicates 70 gms of H2O2 in 100 mL of solution

Volume Strength- In the market, this is the most commonly used method of expressing the strength of H2O2/ concentration.  A solution labelled 30 volume means 1mL of the solution on heat decomposition is capable of releasing 30 mL of oxygen at NTP.

2H2O2--> 2H2O+O2

Therefore, according to the reaction 2X34 gms of H2O2 liberate 22.4 L of oxygen at NTP

Therefore,  the gms of H2O2 that would liberate 30 L of oxygen gas for a 30 volume concentration can be calculated as follows-

30X2X34/22.4 = 91.07g

Thus, 1L of a 30 vol. concentration solution contains 91.07 g of H2O2

The strength of H2O2 in g/L can expressed as 91.07g/L

For thechemist, a cosmetologist as well as the manufacturer this information becomes an invaluable.

When concentration of H2O2 is to be expressed as Normality,

then the equivalent weight

of H2O2 is to be used.  Normality= Strength/Eq.Wt

For a 30 volume strength, Normality = 91.07/17= 5.357N



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    • cuttler profile image


      5 years ago from HubPages

      Good hub...I deal with Hydrogen peroxide on many ocassions as I prepare oxygen in the lab for my students. Voted up and useful. Keep them coming


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