- Potassium carbonate is
a white salt, soluble in water (insoluble in alcohol) which forms a
strongly alkaline solution. It can be made as the product of potassium
hydroxide's absorbent reaction with carbon dioxide. It is deliquescent,
often appearing a damp or wet solid. Potassium carbonate is used in the
production of soap and glass.
- Potassium carbonate was
first identified in 1742 by Antonio Campanella and is the primary
component of potash and the more refined pearlash or salts of tartar.
Historically pearlash was created by baking potash in a kiln to remove
impurities. The fine white powder remaining was the pearlash. The first
patent issued by the U.S. Patent Office was awarded to Samuel Hopkins in
1790 for an improved method of making pearlash.
- In late 18th century
North America, before the development of baking powder, pearlash began
to be used as a leavening agent in "quick breads".Other terms for
potassium carbonate include: Carbonate of potash,Dipotassium
carbonate, Dipotassium salt, Pearl ash, Potash,Salt of tartar, Salt of
- Today potassium
carbonate is prepared commercially by the electrolysis of potassium
chloride. The resulting potassium hydroxide is then carbonated using
carbon dioxide to form potassium carbonate, which is often used to
produce other potassium compounds. CO2 + 2KOH --> K2CO3 + H2O.
Pearlash has been used for soap, glass, and china production.In the
laboratory, it may be used as a mild drying agent where other drying
agents such as calcium chloride may be incompatible. However, it is not
suitable for acidic compounds.
- Bicarbonate ion has
been identified as the probable cause of growth inhibition in some
bacteria and fungi. The bicarbonate causes the collapse of hyphal walls
and shrinkage of conidia (different parts of the fungus). In addition,
pH elevation may also play a significant role. Potassium bicarbonate is
also sometimes mixed with sodium bicarbonate and inert ingredients in
- Potassium can be found
in vegetables, fruit, potatoes, meat, bread, milk and nuts. It plays an
important role in the physical fluid system of humans and it assists
nerve functions. Potassium, as the ion K+, concnetrate inside cells, and
95% of the body's potassium is so located. When our kidneys are somehow
malfunctioning an accumulation of potassium will consist.
- The discovery of baking
soda began with potash, a crude potassium carbonate extracted from wood
ashes. American colonists learned how to purify potash into the pearlash
(a more concentrated potassium carbonate) that became an important
ingredient to their booming soap-and glass-making businesses. By the
mid-eighteenth century, production of potash and pearlash had grown from
a cottage industry to a major commercial enterprise. The colonies, with
trees to burn, began exporting huge amounts of these carbonates to
England's glass and soap factories.
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