Definition - What does Disproportionation mean?

Disproportionation is a type of chemical reaction, usually a reduction-oxidation reaction wherein a molecule is transferred into several dissimilar products.

One typical example of this process is the conversion of hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water. The reverse process is known as comproportionation. Understanding the process can be very helpful in the prevention of corrosion, such as in gas treatment plants.

Corrosionpedia explains Disproportionation

In disproportionation, there is commonly a redox type of reaction. With this, one molecule is converted to at least two different forms. To better understand this type of reaction, here is a representation:

    2B --> B1 + B2

Where: B, B1 and B2 are considered as different species of chemicals.

Through this process, various industries such as the treatment of gas systems may become affected. In such plants, bicine as well as other forms of amino acids are produced due to the degradation of amine caused by the presence of sulfur dioxide and oxygen. Bicine alone is really not corrosive; however, when it chelates with iron, a rapid-acting mechanism of corrosion can occur.

By cleaning the system of bicines, corrosion can be lowered significantly. Bicines and similar compounds form through the process of disproportionation. Therefore, breaking up the formation mechanism by using techniques like reversing it can greatly aid in reducing the level of corrosion in gas treatment plants brought about by amino acid compounds and similar elements.

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