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The Effect of Catalysts on the Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)

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The Effect of Catalysts on the Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) Aim: To investigate the effect different metal oxides have on the decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) Hypothesis: When left, hydrogen peroxide will decompose without any surrounding factors. In doing so it breaks down into water(H2O) and oxygen(O). By adding a catalyst, this process can be accelerated with the volume of water and oxygen being formed within a given time being increased. I propose therefore that should any of the transition metal oxides tested raise the volume of oxygen released over a given time, and should no mass be lost by them, then they be classed as a catalyst. Method: Apparatus * Conical Flask * Tight fitting bung and rubber tube * Stand and clamp * Burette * Stopclock * Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) * Transition metal oxides For this experiment the metal oxides used will be Manganese Oxide (MgO) Zinc Oxide (ZnO) ...read more.


Results. Conclusion: From the above results it is clear that the only oxide of the ones tested to show any appreciable increase in volume of O2 produced is Manganese Dioxide. The other two oxides tested do not show any change at all and can therefore be ruled out as being catalysts to the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. Discussion: All of the substances tested share a likeness in that they are all oxides, they do not however all act the same when put with hydrogen peroxide. Only the manganese dioxide increased the rate of the reaction: 2H2O2 --> 2H2O + O2. The manganese dioxide has therefore acted as a catalyst and as with all catalysts has lowered the activation energy required in order for this reaction to take place. In doing so the rate of reaction has increased. As you can see in the diagrams the level of energy required for reactants to become products is greatly reduced in the presence of a catalyst. ...read more.


If the Manganese Dioxide were a catalyst then there would be no loss of mass. We could also have conducted the experiment a second time using Manganese dioxide recovered from the first experiment and measuring the volume of O2 released, the result should be very similar if not identical. The practicalities of removing the catalyst from the liquid in this case would be extensive. A way around this could be to obtain a figure for the density of O2 and using the figures recorded for the O2 released calculate the weight of the O2 released. If the total mass (conical flask, water, H2O2, catalyst and bung) is recorded at the beginning and then again following the experiment, and if the weight of the O2 is subtracted from the mass recorded initially then there should be no loss of mass. This in itself would prove complicated and without extremely accurate apparatus and the assurance that no O2 was lost during the experiment we could not prove whether or not any loss of mass was down to the "catalyst" or just inferior practice. Andrew McNally / Access Science / 4th March 2003 ...read more.

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