A closed system bleaching apparatus was designed to determine the kinetics and effects of various factors on alkaline hydrogen peroxide bleaching of textile cellulose fabrics. It was confirmed that perhydroxyl anion is the primary bleaching moiety in alkaline hydrogen peroxide systems. The use of the apparatus in the measurement of fabric color, waste oxygen, and the subsequent calculation of hydroxyl ion, and molecular hydrogen peroxide confirmed that pH and titration of 'free' hydrogen peroxide in alkaline bleaching systems are not good indicators of bleaching mechanism. The role of the cellulose itself in the chemical bleaching system was determined. The rate of bleaching on cotton fabric was shown to be a first order reaction in concentration of perhydroxyl anion at 60 and 90 °C. An activation energy of 17 kcal/mole was estimated. Decomposition of H2O2 into waste oxygen was found to be second order kinetics.
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