Potassium carbonate

Potassium carbonate

:"Carbonate of potash redirects here. For one of potassium carbonate's impure forms, see potash."Chembox new
ImageFile = Potassium_Carbonate_2D_structure.png ImageFile1= Potassium Carbonate 3D model.png ImageFile2 = Potassium carbonate.jpg
ImageSize =
IUPACName = Potassium carbonate
OtherNames = Potash, pearl ash
Section1 = Chembox Identifiers
CASNo = 584-08-7
PubChem =
RTECS = TS7750000

Section2 = Chembox Properties
Formula = K2CO3
MolarMass = 138.2055 g/mol
Appearance = White deliquescent solid
Density = 2.29 g/cm3, solid
MeltingPt = 891 °C
BoilingPt = Decomposes
Solubility = 112 g/100 mL (20 °C)
its formula is K2 Co3
Section3 = Chembox Hazards
MainHazards =
FlashPt = Not flammable
Autoignition =
NFPA-H = 2
NFPA-F = 0
NFPA-R = 0

Section8 = Chembox Related
OtherAnions =
OtherCations = Lithium carbonate, sodium carbonate, caesium carbonate
OtherCpds =

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 absorbent reaction with carbon dioxide. It is deliquescent, often appearing a damp or wet solid. Potassium carbonate is used in the production of soap and glass.


Potassium carbonate was first identified in 1742 by Antonio Campanella and 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. The first patent issued by the U.S. Patent Office was awarded to Samuel Hopkins in 1790 for an improved method of making potash and pearlash.

In late 18th century North America, before the development of baking powder, pearl ash was used as a leavening agent in "quick breads". [See references to "pearl ash" in "American Cookery" by Amelia Simmons, printed by Hudson & Goodwin, Hartford, 1796.]

Other terms for potassium carbonate:
*Carbonate of potash
*Dipotassium carbonate
*Dipotassium salt
*Pearl ash
*Salt of tartar
*Salt of wormwood


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 C|potassium compounds.: 2KOH + CO2 → K2CO3 + H2O


Pearl ash has been used for soap, glass, and china production.

In the laboratory, it may be used as a mild drying agent where other drying agents such as calcium chloride may be incompatible. However, it is not suitable for acidic compounds.

Mixed with water it causes an exothermic reaction that results in a temperature change, producing heat.

In cuisine, it is used as an ingredient in the production of grass jelly, a food consumed in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines.

Potassium carbonate is being used as the electrolyte in many cold fusion experiments.

Potassium carbonate is sometimes used as a buffering agent in the production of mead or wine.

Aqueous potassium carbonate is also used as a fire suppressant in extinguishing deep fat fryers and various other B class related fires.

Potassium carbonate is used in reactions to maintain anhydrous conditions without reacting with the reactants and product formed.Fact|date=July 2008 It may also be used to pre-dry some ketones, alcohols, and amines prior to distillation.Fact|date=July 2008



"A Dictionary of Science", Oxford University Press Inc., New York 2003

External links

* [http://www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safework/cis/products/icsc/dtasht/_icsc15/icsc1588.htm International Chemical Safety Card 1588]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • potassium carbonate — n a white salt K2CO3 that forms a strongly alkaline solution and was formerly used as a systemic alkalizer and diuretic and that is now used chiefly in making glass and soap * * * [USP] a compound, K2CO3, used in pharmaceutical and chemical… …   Medical dictionary

  • potassium carbonate — n. a strongly alkaline, white, crystalline compound, K2CO3, used in the manufacture of soap and glass, in medicine, etc …   English World dictionary

  • potassium carbonate — noun a white salt (K2CO3) that is basic in solution; used to make glass and cleansing agents • Hypernyms: ↑carbonate • Hyponyms: ↑pearl ash * * * noun : either of two potassium salts of carbonic acid: a. : the deliquescent cryst …   Useful english dictionary

  • potassium carbonate — kalio karbonatas statusas T sritis chemija formulė K₂CO₃ atitikmenys: angl. potash; potassium carbonate rus. калий углекислый; калия карбонат; поташ ryšiai: sinonimas – dikalio trioksokarbonatas sinonimas – potašas …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • potassium carbonate — Chem. a white, granular, water soluble powder, K2CO3, used chiefly in the manufacture of soap, glass, and potassium salts. [1880 85] * * * …   Universalium

  • potassium carbonate — potas′sium car′bonate n. chem. a white, granular, water soluble powder, K2CO3, used chiefly in the manufacture of soap, glass, and potassium salts • Etymology: 1880–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • potassium carbonate — noun Date: 1866 a white salt K2CO3 that forms a strongly alkaline solution and is used in making glass and soap …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • potassium carbonate — noun The alkaline salt KCO, that is the major constituent of potash; it is used in the production of glass and some soaps …   Wiktionary

  • potassium carbonate — /pəˌtæsiəm ˈkabəneɪt/ (say puh.taseeuhm kahbuhnayt) noun a white solid, K2CO3, used in the manufacture of glass, etc …  

  • carbonate of potash — potassium carbonate …   Useful english dictionary

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