To deactivate or remove any impurity from a mixture or a solution, a scavenger is used. Scavenger chemicals are also used to prevent any unwanted reaction between the compounds. Basically, they are used as a precautionary measure to prevent any unwanted situation.
There are different scavengers which are used in chemistry, here are some;
- Hydroxyl radical is the most common scavenger in atmospheric chemistry. It is produced photolically and is a short-lived radical.
- To separate isotopes from fluorine atoms, methane is used as a scavenger gas.
- Ascorbic acid and hydrazine are used as oxygen scavengers.
- Some scavengers like naringenin and tocopherol act as an antioxidant and are known as bioactive free radical scavengers. Their synthetic options are synthetic catalytic scavengers.
- In polymer manufacture, organotin compounds are used as hydrochloric acid scavengers.
- Glutathione act as a scavenger in the body as it scavengers peroxides and oxidizing free radicals. It acts as thiol nucleophile that attacks alkylating electrophiles, which are very dangerous as they are an exogenous toxin, produced during metabolism.
- Oxygen is used as a scavenger or absorber to protect any product’s life, which is kept in a box or is packed in a modified atmosphere. It is done by putting iron powder into sachets that are kept inside the box. These sachets absorb the oxygen left in the box by oxidation.
Usage of Chemical scavengers in refineries
- Chemical scavengers are used to remove h2s from crude oils. Use of scavengers are dependent on their water content or pH. Scavengers are differentiated into regenerative and non-regenerative and are used according to requirement.
- H2S (hydrogen sulfide) and mercaptan scavengers improves fuel safety and quality. H2S scavengers are a nitrogen less option that lets traders and refiners to achieve the specification goals.when injected directly into the fuel tanks, these scavengers provides non-reversible and rapid reaction that improves downstream operations by lowering down the fouling tendencies that increases production level. Its benefits include;
- Reduction in corrosion inhibitor expenses.
- Improves health, environmental and safety standards.
Some other applications of scavengers
Scavengers are used in manufacturing and prevention of pharmaceuticals and vitamins. When medicines are made, chemical scavengers are used to control the impurity levels in them. The method or technology that is used for the removal of the impurities was developed by using polychelated resin scavenger. The same is used in the making of medical diagnostic devices and kits. The use of scavengers extends life of the pharmaceuticals and also prevents the oxidation of vitamins E, C & A.
In wine industry, potassium metabisulfite is used as a scavenger that separates oxygen from wine and provides a layer of gas between them. Scavengers are used to prevent food from rancidification. Most of the packaged food like nuts, snacks, whole fat dry foods, processed, smoked & cured meats, cheese and dairy products, spices & seasonings, flour and grain items etc are prone to rancidification. To prevent it, oxygen scavengers are used.Oxygen sachets are kept inside the boxes of electronic items to keep them dry that preserves solderability of electronic parts.
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