aluminum foil laminates are used in food packaging which contain chlorine dioxide disinfectant. Will the chlorine dioxide attack or oxidize the aluminum?

Expert Answers
justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aluminum is a not a very stable elements and reacts with substances like steam, oxygen at slightly elevated temperatures and dilute and concentrated acids.

Chlorine dioxide is a very efficient disinfectant of water and this leads to its many applications in disinfecting food products.

Aluminum reacts with chlorine dioxide to form aluminum chlorite:

Al + 3 ClO2 --> Al(ClO2)3

This reaction corrodes aluminum and acidic conditions and high concentrations increase the rate of reaction. Plastics are not affected by chlorine dioxide.

Some substances that can react with chlorine dioxide to reduce it to chloride ions are borohydrates, highly concentrated iodide, sulphurous acid, ferrous chloride manganese and vitamin C. It may not be possible, though, to use many of these chemicals in food products.