Potassium Hydroxide (Caustic Potash)
Potassium hydroxide, also known as Caustic Potash or Lye, is a product that is used in the creation of soap, detergent, paper, textiles and drinking water. It is a chemical base and comes packaged as a white solid flakes.
Potassium Hydroxide (Caustic Potash) – Uses and Benefits
Physical properties: Potassium hydroxide is a white solid with a density of 2.12 g/mL, a melting point of 360 °C, and boiling point of 1,327 °C. It is typically available as translucent pellets, or as aqueous solutions of different concentrations.
Chemical properties: KOH is a highly hygroscopic solid which absorbs water from air, thus making it a useful laboratory desiccant (drying agent). It is very stable thermally (does not decompose even at high temperatures). It dissolves in water to form strongly alkaline, aqueous KOH solutions called potassium lye. It readily reacts with acids to form a variety of potassium salts, which have many uses in industry.
Uses: Potassium hydroxide is used in many of the same applications as sodium hydroxide. In addition, aqueous KOH is used as the electrolyte in alkaline batteries. It is also used to manufacture soft soaps and liquid soaps by saponification. Many industrially useful potassium salts are prepared by reaction with KOH. Some of the other uses of KOH are in chemical manufacturing, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, and cleaning solutions.
Health effects/safety hazards: KOH is a strong and corrosive base, which can penetrate skin and tissues. Skin or eye contact with KOH solutions can cause burns, severe irritation, and even blindness. Inhalation of this corrosive base can damage the mucous membranes and lungs. If swallowed, it is extremely toxic and can lead to permanent tissue damage and be fatal.
The above information is for general research purposes only and is not a representation or warranty of any kind. This material is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The user of this material is solely responsible for determining fitness for any particular use; requesting and reviewing the applicable Material Safety Data Sheet; and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Terms and conditions apply.