Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Potassium carbonate is a white salt, soluble in water (insoluble in alcohol), which forms a strongly alkaline solution. It can be made as the product of potassium hydroxide's absorbant reaction with carbon dioxide. It is a deliquescent (usually damp or wet) solid, used in the production of soap and glass.
|Formula weight||138.2 amu|
|Melting point||1164 K (891 °C)|
|Boiling point||Decomposes at ?|
|Density||2.4 ×103 kg/m3|
|Solubility||93.7 g in 100g water|
|Ingestion||Severe irritation may result.
Do not induce vomiting.
|Inhalation||Acts as an irritant.|
|Skin||Acts as an irritant.|
|Eyes||Acts as an irritant|
|More info||Hazardous Chemical Database|
Potassium carbonate is the primary component of potash and the more refined pearlash or salts of tartar. Historically pearlash was created by baking potash in a kiln to remove impurities. The fine white powder remaining was the pearlash. Pearlash has been used for soap, glass, and china production. The first patent issued by the U.S. Patent Office was awarded to Samuel Hopkins in 1790 for an improved method of making pearlash.
Today potassium carbonate is prepared commercially by the electrolysis of potassium chloride. The resulting potassium hydroxide is then carbonated using carbon dioxide to form potassium carbonate, which is often used to produce other potassium compounds.
Other terms for potassium carbonate include:
- carbonate of potash,
- dipotassium carbonate,
- dipotassium salt,
- pearl ash,
- pot ash,
- salt of tartar, and
- salt of wormwood.
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