Sodium Peroxoborate: Properties, Preparations, and Uses

What is Sodium Peroxoborate?

Sodium peroxoborate is an inorganic salt composed of sodium and peroxoborate, an oxygen-containing radical. It is a white and sometimes grayish-white solid that is soluble in water. It can be used as a bleaching agent, an oxidizer, or a cleansing agent in many industrial and household cleaning products.

Preparation of Sodium Peroxoborate

Sodium peroxoborate is usually prepared by directly combining sodium borate or borax and hydrogen peroxide. However, it can also be synthesized from an aqueous sodium borate solution, a borates and aqueous hydrogen peroxide solution, or an aqueous sodium borate solution and a hydrogen peroxide solution. All of these methods typically create a yellowish solution, which precipitates when heated.

Storage

Once prepared, sodium peroxoborate should be safely stored as its properties degrade over time. It is recommended to store the compound in an air-tight, clean container and to keep it away from heat and sunlight. It is also recommended to store the compound separately to avoid contamination. Maintenance of the compound should occur on a regular basis, with changes of the solution every two months or so.

Physical Properties

The physical properties of sodium peroxoborate open up a wide range of applications. It is a white, odorless, fine crystalline powder that can be dissolved in water quickly and easily. The compound is also relatively stable, and has a high melting point of approximately 314°C. In its anhydrous form, the compound has a pH of 11, and in its tetrahydrate form, it has a pH of 10.5.

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Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of sodium peroxoborate vary depending on the form it is present in. In its mono-hydrogen form, the compound is very reactive with metals, combustible materials, and reducing agents. It is also corrosive and has a strong oxidizing power, meaning it can react with oxygen to form a peroxide. In its tetra-hydrate form, the compound is much less reactive and less corrosive than in its mono-hydrogen form.

Uses of Sodium Peroxoborate

Sodium peroxoborate is a powerful oxidizing agent used for both industrial and scientific purposes. It is composed of sodium boronate, hydrogen peroxide, and a varying amount of sodium chloride. Being an oxidizing agent, sodium peroxoborate can be used to bleach, disinfect, sanitize and deodorize a wide variety of surfaces and materials.

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It is most commonly used for bleaching fabrics such as cotton, linen, and wool. Chlorine bleaching is most often used for this purpose, however, it can quickly weaken and break down textile fibers. Sodium peroxoborate, on the other hand, is safer and gentler because it works more slowly and can be used to achieve even brighter results.

Another popular use of sodium peroxoborate is in the production of detergents. This is because it has deodorizing, disinfecting, and cleaning properties. It can, however, be toxic to aquatic life, so it should be used in concentrations that are not dangerous.

The use of sodium peroxoborate also extends to the scientific laboratory. It is sometimes used to create solutions for measuring the concentration of a substance, such as glucose, in a sample. It has also been used as a preservative, particularly for yeast, to inhibit the growth of harmful organisms.

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Sodium peroxoborate can be used for other purposes, such as in the jewelry industry and for cleaning contact lenses. Its oxidizing nature also makes it very useful for removing spores, bacteria, and fungi in the healthcare and food industries.

Safety Precautions

Due to its powerful oxidizing and bleaching properties, sodium peroxoborate must be handled with extreme caution. When working with the compound, safety glasses, gloves, and other protective clothing should be worn. In addition, contact with skin and eyes should be avoided, and any spills must be contained and cleaned up promptly.

Conclusion

Sodium peroxoborate is a versatile compound with a wide range of applications. It has both physical and chemical properties that make it useful in a number of different processes. While it must be handled with care due to its powerful oxidizing and bleaching properties, its many uses make it an invaluable tool in the production of a variety of products.