Iodine has a number of uses in a variety of important industries. In the medical field, iodine is used in the production of iodinated contrast media for imaging studies, in the treatment of accidental exposure to radiation, as a disinfectant in hospitals and as an active ingredient in various medications. You’ll also find iodine in the manufacturing of nylon fibers and in the production of polarizing films, which are used to enhance images created on the liquid crystal displays of televisions and smart phone touch screens.
In addition to all of these uses, we also use iodine as a catalyst in the production and processing of many different materials. In all of these processes, the application of iodine increases the speed of essential reactions without affecting the end result of the reaction.
How Iodine Functions as a Catalyst Across Different Industries
Iodine and its derivatives are often used as catalysts in the manufacturing industry. Some of the most common uses of iodine in this industry are detailed below.
Synthesis of Perfluororganic Compounds
Iodine pentafluoride is used in the production of perfluororganic compounds, which are then used in the treatment of leathers and textiles, as well as in the manufacture of foams for fire extinguishers.
Iodine pentaflouride’s primary role in the synthesis of these compounds is in the telomerization process. During this process, iodine pentafluoride reacts with tetrafluoroethylene to produce fluorinated alkyl iodide.
Production of Tall Oil, Rosin and other Wood Products
Iodine is commonly used as a catalyst in the processing of tall oil, rosins and other wood products. Its primary use in processing of these materials is to convert them to a more stable form.
The iodine catalyst used in these processes typically contains a combination of stabilizers, activators and iodine compounds. It is mixed with the material in question for the purpose of disproportionation.
Production of Synthetic Rubber and Emulsifiers
Iodine also plays a role in the production of emulsifiers and synthetic rubbers. The production of all of these materials require processed wood products, such as tall oil and rosin. Because tall oil processing makes use of iodine’s function as a catalyst, synthetic rubber and emulsifiers rely on iodine for efficient production.
Synthesis of Quinoxaline Antibiotics
Quinoxaline antibiotics are a family of heterodetic cyclodepsipeptide antibiotics that are highly effective against gram-positive bacteria. Research also suggests that these antibiotics may inhibit the growth of certain tumors. Hypervalent iodine can be used as a catalyst in the production of various important quinoxalines.
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