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Potassium Chlorate Uses

May 13, 2013

Introduction to Potassium chlorate:

Potassium chlorate is a chemical compound which consists of potassium, chlorine and oxygen. Its molecular formula is KClO3.  It is a white crystalline compound in its pure form.  It is the most common chlorate used in industry.  Potassium chlorate is usually found in well stocked laboratories and uses of potassium chlorate are many.

Properties of potassium chlorate:

1.      It is a colorless crystalline solid or powder.

2.      It is soluble in water.

3.      The melting point is 356oC and boiling point is 400 oC.

4.      It may catches fire when it come in contact with combustible material.

5.      The molecular weight of potassium chlorate is 122.6.


Production of potassium chlorate:

In an Industry, potassium chlorate is produced by the electrolysis of sodium chloride solution to form sodium chlorate which on reacting with potassium chloride gives potassium chlorate.  On a smaller scale, potassium chlorate can be prepared by thermal disproportionation of the hypochlorate to its chloride and chlorate by boiling, then adding potassium chloride.  Since there is the production of chloride and chlorine dioxide, reaction should be carried out in a fume hood.

potassium chlorate uses:

  • It is used as an oxidizing agent.
  • It is used in the preparation of oxygen.
  • Potassium chlorate is used as a disinfectant.
  • It is also used in explosives and fireworks.

Potassium chlorate uses in Industries:

There are several uses of potassium chlorate in industry.

  • It is used in propelllents, are more efficient than traditional gun powders and also they are less susceptible to water.
  • When it is mixed with suitable fuel, it forms an explosive called Sprengel explosive
  • Potassium chlorate when mixed with the plasticizer produces most common plastic explosives.
  • Potassium chlorate finds application in some formulas of gun powder replacing the less powerful potassium nitrate.

 potassium chlorate uses in schools and colleges:

Potassium chlorate is most commonly used in schools and college laboratories to generate oxygen gas because it is a cheaper source of oxygen. Potassium chlorate, when heated with manganese (IV) dioxide will readily decompose. Thus it may be simply placed in a test tube and heated using burner .Warm oxygen can be drawn off provided the test tube is equipped with one holed stopper and hose. The reaction can be written as follows,

2KClO3(s) + heat → 3O2 (g) + 2KCl(s)

potassium chlorate uses in chemical oxygen generators:

Chemical oxygen generators are also called as oxygen candles or chlorate candles) .Here potassium chlorate is used as oxygen – supply systems in aircrafts,  space stations and submarine.

Other uses of potassium chlorate:

The decomposed potassium chlorate is useful in providing the oxygen supply for limelight.  Potassium chlorate is used as pesticides. Fegabit is the trade name for potassium chlorate in Finland.

Potassium chlorate is used in cultivation especially in Longan tree; it causes it to produce fruits in warmer climates.


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