Potassium Chlorate - KClO3

What is Potassium Chlorate?

Potassium Chlorate is an inorganic compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen, with the molecular formula KClO3.

It is also known as Fekabit or Fegabit or Kaliumchlorat. It is very flammable when mixed with combustible materials. It is a compound containing potassium, oxygen, and chlorine. It appears as a white crystalline substance in its pure form. It is the most widely used chlorate in industry.

The aqueous solution of potassium chlorate is a colourless liquid that is denser than water. It could be toxic when ingested. When it comes in contact it can irritate your eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. It has a cooling and saline taste.

Table of Contents

Potassium Chlorate Structure – KClO3


Preparation of Potassium Chlorate

Potassium chlorate can be produced in three ways:

1. On the industrial scale, it can be produced via the Liebig process:

Step 1. Take hot calcium hydroxide.

Step 2. Pass chlorine into it.

Step 3. Add potassium chloride.

6 Ca(OH)2 + 6 Cl2 → Ca(ClO3)2 + 5 CaCl2 + 6 H2O

Ca(ClO3)2 + 2 KCl → 2 KClO3 + CaCl2

2. Potassium chlorate produced by disproportionation:

Step 1. In this method, first sodium chloride and sodium chlorate are formed by disproportionation of sodium hypochlorite.

Step 2. Then metathesis reaction takes place between potassium chlorate and potassium chloride.

3 NaOCl(aq) → 2 NaCl(s) + NaClO3(aq)

KCl(aq) + NaClO3(aq) → NaCl(aq) + KClO3(s)

3. Method three:

Step 1. Consider a hot solution of caustic potash.

Step 2. Pass chlorine gas into it.

3 Cl2(g) + 6 KOH(aq) → KClO3(aq) + 5 KCl(aq) + 3 H2O(l)

Properties of Potassium Chlorate – KClO3

KClO3 Potassium Chlorate
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 122.55 g/mol
Density 2.34 g/cm³
Boiling Point 400 °C
Melting Point 356 °C

Uses Of Potassium Chlorate (KClO3)

  • Potassium chlorate along with silver fulminate is used in noise-makers such as snappers and crackers.
  • It is used as an oxidiser in smoke grenades.
  • It is used to generate oxygen gas in college and school labs.
  • It is used in oxygen candles or chlorate candles.
  • It is used in limelight to supply oxygen.
  • It is used as a pesticide.
  • It is used in growling gummy bears.
  • It is used as a fertiliser as an effective alternative for ammonium nitrate.
  • It is used in the manufacturing of paper.
  • It is used in the production of matches.
  • It is used in the making of explosives.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is potassium chlorate used for?

Potassium chlorate is used in chemical oxygen generators (also known as chlorate candles or oxygen candles), used as oxygen delivery systems, such as aeroplanes, space stations and submarines, and was responsible for at least one airplane crashing.


What happens to potassium chlorate when heated?

Potassium chlorate decomposes to potassium chloride and to oxygen gas when heated strongly. In the presence of MnO2 as a catalyst, the decomposition is faster.


What is the difference between potassium chloride and potassium chlorate?

Potassium chlorate is a useful oxidiser, and it is easy to use household chemicals to produce small quantities of it. The addition of potassium chloride moves ions, precipitating potassium chlorate out. For this reaction to work, boiling is needed; you can’t just let the bleach evaporate.


How does potassium chlorate decompose?

Potassium chlorate decomposes thermally to give oxygen and potassium chloride. This reaction occurs at a temperature of between 150-300 ° C. For this reaction, manganese (IV) oxide can be the catalyst.

Learn more about the chemical behaviour and importance of potassium chlorate (KClO3) from the expert faculties at BYJU’S – India’s largest education company.

Other important links:

Sodium Chloride Chlorine
Test Your Knowledge On Potassium Chlorate!


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