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A ball-and-stick model of the peroxodisulfate anion
The structure of the peroxodisulfate anion

The peroxydisulfate ion, S
, is a oxyanion. It is commonly referred to as the persulfate ion, but this term also refers to the peroxomonosulfate ion, SO2−
. Approximately 500,000 tons of salts containing this anion are produced annually. Important salts include sodium persulfate (Na2S2O8), potassium persulfate (K2S2O8), and ammonium persulfate ((NH4)2S2O8). These salts are colourless, water-soluble solids that are strong oxidants.[1]


Salts of peroxydisulfate are mainly used to initiate the polymerization of various alkenes, including styrene, acrylonitrile, and fluoroalkenes. Polymerization is initiated by the homolysis of the peroxydisulfate:

[O3SO–OSO3]2− ⇌ 2 [SO4]•−

In addition to its major commercial applications, peroxydisulfate participates in reactions of interest in the laboratory:


  1. ^ Harald Jakob, Stefan Leininger, Thomas Lehmann, Sylvia Jacobi, Sven Gutewort (2005), "Peroxo Compounds, Inorganic", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, doi:10.1002/14356007.a19_177.pub2