Synlett 2008(7): 1101-1102  
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1066990
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Hydrogen Peroxide: A Versatile Reagent in Organic Synthesis

Diego A. Gamba Sanchez*
Laboratoire de Synthèse Organique, UMR CNRS 7652, Ecole ­Polytechnique, DCSO, 91128 Palaiseau, France
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
28 March 2008 (online)


Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a strong oxidizing agent and a weak acid in aqueous solution. It is a very pale blue liquid which appears colorless in dilute solution and is completely miscible with water. Hydrogen peroxide and its highly concentrated aqueous solutions (>65%) are soluble in a range of organic solvents, for example carboxylic esters. It decomposes in a violent reaction into water and oxygen if heated above 80 °C. It also decomposes under the influence of light and in the presence of metal ions or oxidizable organic materials. Hydrogen peroxide is commercially available in concentrations of 3-90% as a solution in water.

Hydrogen peroxide and water do not form azeotropic mixtures and can be completely separated by distillation. By fractional crystallization of highly concentrated solutions 100% pure hydrogen peroxide can be obtained. Pure hydrogen peroxide is usually only of academic interest and is not produced on industrial scale.

Hydrogen peroxide is manufactured by the autoxidation of 2-ethyl-9,10-dihydroxyanthracene to 2-ethylanthraquinone and hydrogen peroxide using oxygen from the air. [1]


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