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Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with the formula H
2. In its pure form it is a colourless liquid, slightly more viscousthan water; however, for safety reasons it is normally used as an aqueous solution. Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide (a compound with an oxygen-oxygen single bond) and finds use as a strong oxidizer, bleaching agent and disinfectant.
Hydrogen peroxide is often described as being “water but with one more oxygen atom”, a description which can give the incorrect impression that there is a great deal of similarity between the two compounds. Pure hydrogen peroxide will explode if heated to boiling, will cause serious contact burns to the skin and can set materials alight on contact.
The boiling point of H
2O2 has been extrapolated as being 150.2 °C, approximately 50 degrees higher than water; in practice hydrogen peroxide will undergo potentially thermal decomposition if heated to this temperature. It may be safely distilled under reduced pressure.