Oxygen Scavengers

While we consider oxygen extremely important for life, it has only been quite recently in the history of the world that oxygen moved from the category of “toxic chemical” to “life-giving gas,” both classifications due to its ability to chemically bond with so many elements. Today, there are still instances where oxygen causes extreme damage. In chemistry, a scavenger is a substance that removes or de-activates impurities. Oxygen scavengers remove oxygen or prevent an oxidation reaction--the transfer of electrons from one chemical to another. As it relates to oxygen, an oxidation reaction forms an oxide. Because of its electronegativity, oxygen is highly reactive and quickly bonds to almost every other element when exposed to elevated temperatures, forming an oxide of that element. However, a number of elements form oxides at standard temperatures, most readily identified as iron (III) oxide (Fe2O3)--commonly referred to as “rust”. Oxygen scavenging negates the presence of oxygen in normal atmospheric conditions, stanching its ability to corrode or form oxides.

Oxygen scavenging is a simple process that occurs when an organic chemical--which tends to have a slightly negative charge--comes in contact with a slightly positive oxygen molecule. In essence, science has caused oxidation to occur with a compound at our discretion rather than nature’s. Oxygen is absorbed from the surrounding area and its ability to corrode is negated. Two oxygen scavengers used in this manner are the water treatment chemicals: sodium hydrogen carbonate and ascorbic acid. Adding either of these chemicals, or any other oxygen scavenger, negates oxygen’s corrosive properties. Carbohydrazine is another oxygen scavenger known for its ability to convert iron (III) oxide (ferric oxide) to iron (II) oxide (ferrous oxide). In order to control the corrosive properties of oxygen, it is imperative to introduce oxygen scavengers into a water treatment system. Without water treatment chemical oxygen scavengers, the metals will corrode and cause maintenance difficulties and breakdowns, and, more importantly, the health of consumers will be negatively affected.

If you’re looking for a water treatment chemical supplier, contact Bell Chem. We’re the the leading chemical supply company in Orlando and we’re more than happy to help you in any way that we can. For more information, call 407-339-BELL (2355) today.