Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO)
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Benzoyl peroxide is colourless, crystalline solid having a faint odour of benzaldehyde. It is insoluble in water, slightly soluble in alcohol, and soluble in chloroform and ether. One g dissolves in 40 ml of carbon disulfide. It melts between 103 0C and 106 0C with decomposition. Benzoyl peroxide, especially in the dry form, is a dangerous, highly reactive, oxidizing material and has been known to explode spontaneously.
Benzoyl peroxide is synthesized commercially by the reaction of benzoyl chloride, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen peroxide. Traces of benzoic acid remain after usual purification procedures.
It is used as a bleaching agent for certain foods, an oxidizing agent, a polymerizing initiator in the manufacture of plastics, a curing agent for silicone rubber, a constituent of ointments for skin disorders, and an ingredient in various industrial processes.