Physical and chemical properties of potassium carbonate

Potassium carbonate (potash, additive E501) is a white, crystalline powder, possessing a strong alkaline taste. It is very soluble in water, but practically insoluble in ethanol. When dissolved in water, the potassium carbonate produces a lot of heat. The higher the temperature of the solution, the more pronounced its alkaline properties.

Potassium carbonate can react with oxides of carbon and sulfur with the formation of hydrates. Such a reaction is only possible in an aqueous solution of this salt.

Obtaining potassium carbonate

In ancient times potash was obtained from trees which contain a lot of potassium (maple, birch, pine). To do this, the wood burned. From one cubic meter it was possible to obtain about 500 grams of potassium carbonate. There is another method: wood ash filled with hot water and poured the mixture on the burning firewood in the hearth. This procedure must be carried out so that the fire is not extinguished, then at the bottom of the hearth will be delayed potash.

Today, potash is produced by electrolysis of potassium chloride, at least with ash from seaweed. He and the other method allows you to get this stuff in industrial quantities.

The application of potassium carbonate

Potassium carbonate is known to man since time immemorial. Initially it was used for washing clothes as in an alkaline environment, which it creates, easily destroyed fats. Any stains disappear after the first wash. Soap factories use it in the manufacture of its products.

Potassium carbonate is also known as a food additive E501. It acts as emulsifier and acidity regulator, which makes baked goods fluffy. Were numerous disputes about the harm of this Supplement for the human body. It turned out that the calcium carbonate harmful to humans only in a suspended state. If contact with skin, possible local allergic reaction.

In agriculture, calcium carbonate is used as the disinfectant substance against various fungal diseases of plants and as fertilizer. It has a beneficial effect on the soil, drastically reducing its acidity, as the alkali. The soil becomes more fertile. Solution of potash treated with chicken coops and pigsties.

The alkaline nature of potassium carbonate allows its use in medicine. Often it is found in protivosudorozhnykh ointments and creams to enhance the therapeutic effect. Very effective treatments with this Supplement against parasites in the human body.