potassium carbonate

potassium carbonate, chemical compound, K2CO3, white, crystalline, deliquescent substance that forms a strongly alkaline water solution. It is available commercially as a white, granular powder commonly called potash, or pearl ash. It was originally obtained from wood ashes or from the residue left in pots after certain plants, e.g., kelp, were burned in them. It is prepared commercially chiefly by electrolysis of potassium chloride to form potassium hydroxide, which is then carbonated (e.g., by adding carbon dioxide gas). It is used in the manufacture of soft soaps and glass, for washing wool, and in the production of other potassium compounds.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on potassium carbonate from Fact Monster:

  • potash - potash: potash: see potassium carbonate.
  • pearl ash - pearl ash: pearl ash: see potassium carbonate.
  • ash, in chemistry - ash ash, in chemistry, solid residue of combustion. The chemical composition of an ash depends on ...
  • lye - lye lye, name commonly used for a strongly alkaline solution. It originally meant a solution of ...
  • water glass - water glass water glass or soluble glass,colorless, transparent, glasslike substance available ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Compounds and Elements