What is Potassium Hydroxide?
Potassium hydroxide is an inorganic compound which is denoted by the chemical formula KOH. It is also known as caustic potash, lye, and potash lye. This alkali metal hydroxide is a very powerful base. In its aqueous form, its appearance is that of a clear solution. In its solid form, KOH can exist as white to slightly yellow lumps, flakes, pellets, or rods. No characteristic odour can be attributed to this compound in its solid-state.
Potassium hydroxide is soluble in water, freely soluble in ethanol, methanol, and glycerin. It is slightly soluble in ether. It is non-combustible but highly corrosive. It is widely used in chemical manufacturing, cleaning compounds, and petroleum refining.
Properties of Potassium Hydroxide – KOH
|Molecular weight/molar mass of KOH||56.11 g/mol|
|Density of Potassium hydroxide||2.044 g/cm3|
|Boiling Point of Potassium hydroxide||1,327 °C|
|Melting Point of Potassium hydroxide||360 °C|
Potassium hydroxide structure – KOH
Uses of Potassium Hydroxide
- Potassium hydroxide solution is more conductive when compared to NaOH and therefore used as an electrolyte in some alkaline batteries.
- It is used as a pH control agent in the food industry.
- It is used in thickening of food.
- It is used in chip fabrication for semiconductors.
- It is used in the manufacturing of cuticle removers which is used in manicure treatment.
- It is used in the identification of species of fungi.
- It is used in mercerizing cotton.
- It is used in alkalimetric titrations in analytical chemistry.
- Used in the manufacturing of liquid fertilizers.
Chemical Reactions Undergone by KOH
- Saponification of ester
KOH + RCOOR’ → RCOOK + R’OH
- Reacts with CO2 to produce bicarbonate
KOH + CO2 → KHCO3
Health Hazards Associated with Potassium Hydroxide
Potash lye and its solution can severely irritate skin, mucous membranes, and eyes. When it comes in contact with water or moisture it can generate heat to instigate combustion.
Learn more about the Structure, physical and chemical properties of KOH from the experts at BYJU’S.