Chlorine Dioxide

Definition - What does Chlorine Dioxide mean?

Chlorine dioxide is a chemical compound having the chemical formula ClO2. It occurs as a yellow greenish crystal and appears as a bright orange color when seen at -59°C (-74°F). Chlorine dioxide is one of the oxides of chlorine, and is used as an oxidizing agent in the water treatment and bleaching processes.

Corrosionpedia explains Chlorine Dioxide

Chlorine dioxide is a neutral compound that was discovered in 1814 by Sir Humphrey Davy. In his experiments, a gas was produced by dropping H2SO3 (sulfuric acid) on KClO3 (potassium chlorate). Later the sulfuric acid was replaced with HOCl (hypochlorous acid) to produce chlorine dioxide. The industries that produce chlorine dioxide in large quantities make use of such a reaction.

Alternatively, NaClO3 (sodium chlorate) can be used instead of potassium chlorate to form chlorine dioxide per the chemical formula:

2NaClO3 + 4HCl + 2ClO2 + Cl2 + 2NaCl + 2H2O

Chlorine dioxide is widely used in:

  • Bleaching wood pulp and flour
  • Water treatment, cleaning and chlorination (e.g., as a drinking water disinfectant)
  • Disinfectant manufacturing for products such as sanitizers

Chlorine dioxide is non-corrosive. It is a myth that chlorine dioxide corrodes stainless steel.

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