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Hydroquinone is used as a reducing agent and finds applications in black and white photographic developers for film and paper along with 4-(methylamino)phenol sulfate (metol). In this application, silver halides are reduced to elemental silver. It acts as a polymerization inhibitor which prevents polymerization of acrylic acid, methyl methacrylate, cyanoacrylate and other monomers. It undergoes mild oxidation to convert into parabenzoquinone. It is also used as an intermediate to produce antioxidants for rubber and food.
Widely used as a radical trap to inhibit polymerization and peroxidation reactions.
Forms inclusion compounds (clathrates) with three molecules of hydroquinone held together by H bonds to form a cage in which a single guest molecule can be accommodated. For a review, see: D. D. MacNicol in Inclusion Compounds, Vol. 2, J. L. Atwood et al, Eds., Academic Press, London (1984), p1.
A stable 1:1 complex with hydrazine has been isolated and found to be a useful, safer replacement for anhydrous hydrazine, e.g. in the solid state reaction with esters to give hydrazides: J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Commun., 1531 (1995).
Boota, M.; Hatzell, K. B.; Kumbur, E. C.; Gogotsi, Y. Towards High-Energy-Density Pseudocapacitive Flowable Electrodes by the Incorporation of Hydroquinone. ChemSusChem 2015, 8 (5), 835-843.
Buzzo, G. S.; Rodrigues, A. C. B.; De Souza, R. F. B.; Silva, J. C. M.; Bastos, E. L.; Spinace, E. V.; Assumpcao, M. H. M. T. Synthesis of hydroquinone with co-generation of electricity from phenol aqueous solution in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell reactor. Catal. Commun. 2015, 59, 113-115.
Hazard Statements: H302-H318-H317-H341-H351
Harmful if swallowed. Causes serious eye damage. May cause an allergic skin reaction. Suspected of causing genetic defects. Suspected of causing cancer.
Precautionary Statements: P273-P280-P305+P351+P338
Avoid release to the environment. Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection. IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.