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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 18 (2013) pp 085-087
DOI 10.1007/s00897132473a

Decompostion of Hydrogen Peroxide

Fulgentius N. Lugemwa

Department of Science, Pennsylvania State University, York, PA 17403, Received November 25, 2012.
Accepted February 23, 2013.

Published: 19 April 2013

Abstract. The yeast-catalyzed decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to produce water and oxygen is a popular undergraduate experiment often used to investigate gas laws. In order to determine the percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the generated oxygen is trapped in a tightly sealed bottle. The mass of oxygen is then determined directly by subtracting the mass of the bottle and its contents after releasing the gas from the mass of the bottle and the gas. All weight measurements are carried out on an analytical balance. The amount of hydrogen peroxide decomposed is calculated from the balanced equation by using gram-mole-mole-gram conversions. This is followed by calculating the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in solution. Unlike so many undergraduate laboratory experiments, the procedure does not produce any toxic substances. Students gain an understanding of stoichiometry by carrying out a reaction that quantitatively produces oxygen. The procedure also demonstrates the law of conservation of matter.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; high school chemistry; green chemistry

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