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Potassium hydroxide, also called caustic potash, is a chemical compound with the formula KOH. This mineral compound is a powerful substance that exists in various forms including tablets and powders.
This material is used in the various chemical industry and construction industries. It is useful for various applications such as soap production, biodiesel, batteries, fuel cells, and food additives.
Physical and chemical properties:
This purified substance is a white solid that is commercially available as pellets and shells.
It is a strong alkali, highly soluble in water, and highly corrosive. The solubility of this substance in water and alcohol is exothermic and can produce heat. This compound can absorb moisture and carbon dioxide from the air.
|Molar mass||56.11 g mol−1|
|Appearance||white solid, deliquescent|
|Density||2.044 g/cm3 (20 °C)
2.12 g/cm3 (25 °C)
|PH||10 – 13|
|Melting Point||360 °C (680 °F; 633 K)|
|Boiling point||1,327 °C (2,421 °F; 1,600 K)|
|Solubility in water||85 g/100 mL (-23.2 °C)
97 g/100 mL (0 °C)
121 g/100 mL (25 °C)
138.3 g/100 mL (50 °C)
162.9 g/100 mL (100 °C)
|Solubility||soluble in alcohol, glycerol
insoluble in ether, liquid ammonia
|Vapor Pressure||1 mmHg at 714 °C|
|Color||White or colorless|
|Form||White rhombic crystals|
|Other names||Caustic potash, Lye, Potash lye, Potassium hydrate, KOH|
|Chemical Structure Depiction|
Formula and structure :
The chemical formula of potassium hydroxide is KOH. The structure of KOH consists of an ionic bond between the metal cation potassium and the hydroxyl anion. Solid potassium hydroxide has a rhombic crystalline structure.
- In the past, potassium hydroxide was produced by the reaction of calcium hydroxide with potassium carbonate. The solution obtained from this reaction is filtered and the precipitated calcium carbonate is separated. In the next step, the filtered solution is boiled and concentrated to obtain solid potassium hydroxide.
Ca (OH)2 + K2CO3 → CaCO3 + 2 KOH
- Produced by electrolysis of water-soluble potassium chloride. In this process, an electric current decomposition potassium chloride into potassium and chlorine. Chlorine is released as a by-product in the form of gas. Potassium remaining in the solution reacts with water to produce potassium hydroxide.
2 KCl + 2 H2O → 2 KOH + Cl2 + H2
Applications and uses :
Due to its tendency to water, it is used in laboratories as a desiccant. It is used to dry basic solvents, especially amines.
- KOH can be used as a pH regulator in many industries and manufacturing processes.
- This compound also has medical and veterinary applications. This product is used to diagnose fungal infections.
- It is sometimes used as a commercial additive in the food industry. In the production processes of chocolate and cocoa, non-alcoholic beverages or ice cream are used.
- Potash can be used to make micro electric silicone equipment.
- In the cosmetics industry, its appropriate concentration is used to exfoliate and remove extra hair.
- The above compound is used as a bleaching agent in the textile industry.
- This material can be used as an anti-foaming agent in the process of paper production or chemical fertilizer production.
- Potassium salts are in the form of nitrate, magnesium, sulfate, and chloride, which are used as chemical fertilizers for plants that need alkaline soil.
Production of soft soaps:
The reaction of potassium hydroxide with oils and fats in hot conditions is called saponification. This reaction is useful for producing potassium soaps, which are softer and more soluble than sodium hydroxide soaps. as a result, liquid soaps tendency to be potassium soaps, while solid soaps tendency to be sodium soaps.
potassium hydroxide in the manufacture of batteries:
Potash is used to making electrolytes in some types of batteries, such as alkaline batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, and manganese dioxide batteries. In some special fuel cells, this substance is also used as an electrolyte. KOH solutions are more conductive than NaOH solutions and have good electrical conductivity. Therefore, they are preferred to NaOH.
Safety information :
Potassium hydroxide is a strong base that can damage skin and tissues. Skin and eye contact with KOH solution can cause burns, severe irritation, and even blindness. Inhalation of this substance also damages the mucous membranes and lungs. KOH solution is very toxic and deadly if swallowed and can lead to permanent tissue damage.
- Skin Contact: Immediately flush skin with water.
- Inhalation: move the person to the fresh air.
- Eye Contact: Rinse eyes with water for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. Get medical aid immediately. Call a poison control center.
Packing and storage:
Store in a tightly closed container. Store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from incompatible substances.