CHEMISTRY: Cleaner Cleansers

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Science  07 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5574, pp. 1769c
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5574.1769c

Chemical processes that can use hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to replace oxidants such as chlorine would be more environmentally friendly. However, the production of H2O2, from an indirect route through the stepwise reduction and oxidation of an alkylanthroquinone, often makes H2O2 too expensive to use. Previous studies have focused on catalytic production from mixtures of H2 and O2, including the use of palladium (Pd) supported on an oxide such as silica or alumina.

Dissanayake and Lunsford now find that H2 and O2 in a 2:1 ratio react with colloidal Pd in acidified water under ambient conditions to produce H2O2. Contact with the reactant gases appears to be critical; Pd that was deposited on the silica frit used for introducing the gases was far less active. The final concentration of H2O2 that was achieved in solution, 0.6%, appears to be limited under these conditions by the competing decomposition of H2 and O2. — PDS

J. Catal. 206, 173 (2002).

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