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Thread: What would happen if...?

  1. #1 What would happen if...? 
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    I were to obtain a powder of the enzyme which converts a substrate to hydrogen peroxide, and I dropped this powder into a concentrated (30-50%) solution of its substrate (with the amount of enzyme needed for the most rapid reaction)? There would be quite an amount of heat I assume since a similar reaction is displayed in the bombardier beetle, only we are forming hydrogen peroxide instead of catalysing its decomposition. the reaction chamber gets heated to boiling point within a few milliseconds when the enzymes and the substrate meet.

    an estimate of how concentrated the hydrogen peroxide may be?
    HP is reactive and an oxidant and the solution contains organic molecules, so I'm wondering if there may be some fire hazard by mixing an enzyme powder + substrate that when combined form HP.


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    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    What substrate would you be using?

    Usually, the net energy production would be the potential energy of these two substances subtracted. However, hydrogen peroxide has a quite high potential energy itself. So creating it would most likely be an endothermic reaction (this still depends on the substrate you are using).

    I have never seen solutions containing hydrogen peroxide catch flame by themselves (even with some organic compounds in there), but yes, it could happen if the temperature is high enough. But in most cases it would freeze, instead of boil.

    Hydrogen peroxide can be any concentration, ranging from <0,01 to >99,99.

    If you think there could be a fire hazard, always take precautions, use small volumes, and work under a fume hood.


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