Basic chemistry

Droplets of water spontaniously produce hydrogen per oxide

Droplets of water spontaneously produce hydrogen peroxide


Droplets of water spontaneously produce hydrogen peroxide?

Water is an extremely common compound on Earth. Extremely studied too. Yet he seems to want to keep some mystery. This is suggested by a discovery made by American researchers. The microdroplets of water would be able to spontaneously produce hydrogen peroxide.

The hydrogen peroxide  is a chemical compound of the formula H 2 O 2 . It is used in particular for bleaching paper or water treatment. Disinfectant, in local treatment, too. And oxidizer for the propulsion of rockets. In aqueous solution , it is simply called hydrogen peroxide .

One of the most important things I did

Peroxide hydrogen , so this is a widely used compound. Unfortunately, it is often produced by processes that are not very respectful of the environment . This gives the chance discovery made by researchers at Stanford University (USA), a very special importance. “I think it could be one of the most important things I’ve done,” says Richard Zare, professor of chemistry .

A discovery made by chance as his team sought to make gold nanostructures at the heart of water microdroplets . To do this, the chemists first added a reducing agent . But by removing it, they noticed that the nanostructures were still forming. A result they attributed to the presence in the hydroxyl groups of droplets, a reducing group consisting of an atom of oxygen and hydrogen.

A green method to produce hydrogen peroxide

This is what led Stanford chemists to question the presence of hydrogen peroxide. To be clear, nothing like a series of tests. Among which, a very basic test. They sprayed microdroplets of water on a surface covered with luminol – a product that police experts use to illuminate traces of blood – and sodium hydroxide . And the blue light characterizing the oxidation of luminol by hydrogen peroxide appeared.

All tests have confirmed that micro-droplets of water spontaneously form hydrogen peroxide. So much more important that the droplets are small. And when the droplets are recombined to form water, the formed hydrogen peroxide is not lost.

“Water is one of the most common materials. It has been studied for years. But she still seems to hide some secrets, “ notes Richard Zare. Researchers now consider that the phenomenon is due to the presence of a strong electric field in the air , close to the surface of microdroplets. This would force the hydroxyl groups to bind to form hydrogen peroxide.

  • Hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) is a widely used compound.
  • It is traditionally produced by techniques that are not very respectful of the environment.
  • But it seems that micro-droplets of water are able to form spontaneously.
  • What may revolutionize the chemical industry sector.

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