Potassium hydroxide is white crystalline and odorless solid inorganic compounds with a chemical formula KOH. Also, it is a chemical compound known as Caustic Potash, lye, Potash lye, Potassia, Potassium hydrate in several forms like, pellet, flakes and powder that is constituted of potassium, oxygen and hydrogen. This is an alcohol and glycerol stable soluble and create the salty taste solution and insoluble in ether and liquid ammonia.
There are different methods for the preparation of potassium hydroxide, but the most common one is to produce from reaction of sodium hydroxide with impure potassium. But, it can participate in different reaction. Given below are some of them.
- To act as strong base and creating alkaline solution in water and other polar solvents
- To be useful in analytical chemistry and titration
- As a highly nucleophilic anion in organic reactions
- To be highly reactive toward inorganic acid
potassium hydroxide chemical and physical properties
Application of Potassium Hydroxide
All those who use this compound should be aware of the safety measures which are to be followed for its daily use. In large amount, potassium hydroxide could be toxic and its ingestion have to be control in minor doses. Also, while you use this chemical, you should use protective rubber gloves and goggles for your personal safety. Given below are some of its uses.
Precursor of other potassium compounds:
Production of many potassium salts is one of the main usage of this compound. These salts are cyanide, carbonate, permanganate, phosphate and different silicates which are prepared with treating the oxide and acid with KOH. For instance, potassium phosphate is one of important derivatives can be used as a fertilizer in various industry.
Production of biodiesel:
Transesterification of the triglyceride in vegetable oils is the popular method to manufacturer of biodiesel. Glycerin is another final product of biodiesel reactions which act as a cheap food supplements livestock.
Production of soft soap:
Potassium soap could be prepared by saponification of fats with KOH. The main advantage of this kind of soap is to be softness and more soluble. Therefore, it will be a more effective cleaning agent than sodium soaps.
Usage as an electrolyte:
Aqueous potassium hydroxide would act as an electrolyte in alkaline batteries. Potassium hydroxide is more conductive than sodium hydroxide ones.
- Strong chemical base with ability to degrade materials
- Bonding between KOH and NaOH in chemical synthesis and to lead to resulting salts
- Agents of cleaning in disinfect surfaces and materials which are resistance to corrosion by KOH.
- As a semiconductor in chip fabrication
- The main active ingredient in manicure treatments
- Removal of hair from animal hides
- Usage in preshave products and some shave creams
- Identification of some species of fungi
- Petroleum and refinement of natural gas in order to removing organic acid and sulfur compounds
Handling and toxicity:
There are no studies about toxicity of potassium hydroxide, but experimental concern reveals some side effect on health of humans such as vomiting, diarrhea, skin blistering and burns. Alkaline potassium hydroxide also destroys soft tissues that cause deep burns. Moreover, it can hydroxide light metals and behave as a caustic agent in industry. Potassium hydroxide can irrigate the lungs and it is essential to wear protective mask in exposure of it in order to reducing coughing, phlegm and shortness of breath.