potassium carbonate

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A translucent (granular) or white (powder) deliquescent solid known in the anhydrous and hydrated forms. K2CO3 (monoclinic; r.d. 2.4; m.p. 891°C) decomposes without boiling. 2K2CO3.3H2O (monoclinic; r.d. 2.04) dehydrates to K2CO3.H2O above 100°C and to K2CO3 above 130°C. It is prepared by the Engel-Precht process in which potassium chloride and magnesium oxide react with carbon dioxide to give the compound Engel's salt, MgCO3.KHCO3.4H2O. This is decomposed in solution to give the hydrogencarbonate, which can then be calcined to K2CO3. Potassium carbonate is soluble in water (insoluble in alcohol) with significant hydrolysis to produce basic solutions. Industrial uses include glasses and glazes, the manufacture of soft soaps, and in dyeing and wool finishing. It is used in the laboratory as a drying agent.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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