Difference Between Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide

Main Difference – Peroxide vs Hydrogen Peroxide

A peroxide is any compound that is composed of an oxygen-oxygen single bond. This can be either in the form of an anion or in between other atoms of the molecule. Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide that can be found. It is composed of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. These two oxygen atoms are bonded to each other through a single bond. When there are different atoms bonded to the oxygen-oxygen bond instead of hydrogen atoms, then they are named according to the type of atoms or groups of atoms bonded to this single bond. However, these peroxides differ from each other in their chemical and physical properties. The main difference between peroxide and hydrogen peroxide is that peroxides can be either ionic compounds or covalent compounds whereas hydrogen peroxide is a covalent compound.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Peroxide
     – Definition, Properties, Uses
2. What is Hydrogen Peroxide
     – Definition, Properties, Uses
3. What are the Similarities Between Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Covalent Compounds, Hydrogen Peroxide, Ionic Compounds, Oxygen, PeroxideDifference Between Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide - Comparison Summary

What is Peroxide

A peroxide is any compound composed of an oxygen-oxygen single bond. Therefore, the main feature to identify a peroxide compound is the presence of this O-O covalent bond. Sometimes, this bond can be observed as an anion in an ionic compound. Then it is given in symbols as O2-2. This is called the peroxide anion. When the O-O bond is found in a covalent compound, it is called a peroxo group or peroxide group.

Main Difference - Peroxide vs Hydrogen Peroxide

Figure 1: In above examples, the blue colored bonds show the peroxide groups.

In the peroxide group, the oxidation state of one oxygen atom is -1. Normally oxygen prefers to show the oxidation state 0 or -2. But since there are two oxygen atoms are bonded to each other, one oxygen atom gets a -1 oxidation state. In the peroxide anion, one oxygen atom has -1 electrical charge since the overall charge of the anion is -2.

Ionic peroxides are composed of a peroxide anion bonded to alkali metal ions or alkaline earth metal ions as the cation. Some examples are sodium peroxide (Na2O2), potassium peroxide (K2O2), Magnesium peroxide (MgO), etc. Covalent peroxide compounds are composed of O-O single bond directly bonded to other atoms in the molecule; for example, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and peroxymonosulfuric acid (H2SO5).

Peroxides can be found in biological systems and in nature. For example, some enzymes in our cells use peroxides to catalyze certain reactions. Some plant species use peroxide compounds as signaling chemicals. Peroxides are used in laboratory scale applications as well. It is very useful in organic chemistry in order to obtain the anti-Markovnikov product from an organic reaction.

What is Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a covalent peroxide compound having the molecular formula H2O2. It is a covalent compound because all bonds between the four atoms are covalent bonds. The two oxygen atoms are bonded to each other. The two hydrogen atoms are bonded to the oxygen atoms, one hydrogen atom per oxygen atom. The molar mass of hydrogen peroxide is about 34.014 g/mol.

Hydrogen peroxide is a pale blue colored liquid that has a slightly different viscosity than water. It is considered as a weak acid. Since it has strong oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is used as an oxidizing agent in bleaching compounds. Hydrogen peroxide is unstable. It quickly decomposes into oxygen gas and water.

Although the difference between a water molecule and a hydrogen peroxide molecule is just an extra oxygen atom present in the hydrogen peroxide molecular formula, the molecular structures are highly different from each other.

Difference Between Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide

Figure 2: Chemical Properties of Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is used in industrial applications as well as in medical applications. In the industry, hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching component for bleaching agents. In medical applications, it is used as a disinfectant. Apart from that, it can be also used as a propellant.

Similarities Between Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Both compounds are composed of oxygen-oxygen single bond.
  • Both are good oxidizing agents.

Difference Between Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide

Definition

Peroxide: Peroxide is any compound composed of an oxygen-oxygen single bond.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a covalent peroxide compound having the molecular formula H2O2.

Nature

Peroxide: Peroxides can be either ionic compounds or covalent compounds.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a covalent compound.

Molar Mass

Peroxide: The molar mass of peroxides depends on the atoms or group of atoms that are connected to the O-O bond.

Hydrogen Peroxide: The molar mass of hydrogen peroxide is about 34.014 g/mol.

Presence of Hydrogen Atoms

Peroxide: Peroxides may or may not be composed of hydrogen atoms bonded directly to the O-O single bond.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is essentially composed of two hydrogen atoms that are bonded to the O-O single bond.

Conclusion

Peroxides are compounds composed of an oxygen-oxygen single covalent bonds. Hydrogen peroxide is also a type of peroxide compound. Peroxide compounds can be divided mainly into two groups as ionic compounds and covalent compounds. But hydrogen peroxide is a covalent compound. This is the main difference between peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

References:

1. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “What Is a Peroxide?” ThoughtCo, Available here. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.
2. “Hydrogen peroxide.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Available here. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Peroxide group v.2″ By Jü – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “H2O2 gas structure” By SVG: Sassospicco; Raster: Walkerma – File:H2O2 structure.png. (GFDL) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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