Potassium Hydroxide
Structural Formula Vector Image
Title: Potassium Hydroxide
CAS Registry Number: 1310-58-3
Additional Names: Potassium hydrate; caustic potash; potassa
Molecular Formula: HKO
Molecular Weight: 56.11
Percent Composition: H 1.80%, K 69.68%, O 28.51%
Line Formula: KOH
Literature References: Prepd industrially by electrolysis of potassium chloride: Faith, Keyes & Clark's Industrial Chemicals, F. A. Lowenheim, M. K. Moran, Eds. (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 4th ed., 1975) pp 674-678. Toxicity: H. F. Smyth et al., Am. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J. 30, 470 (1969).
Properties: White or slightly yellow lumps, rods, pellets. Rapidly absorbs moisture and CO2 from the air and deliquesces. mp about 360°; mp 380° when anhydr. Sol in 0.9 part water, about 0.6 part boiling water, 3 parts alcohol, 2.5 parts glycerol. When dissolved in water or alcohol or when the soln is treated with an acid, much heat is generated. Keep tightly closed and do not handle with bare hands. A 0.1M aq soln has a pH of 13.5. LD50 orally in rats: 1.23 g/kg (Smyth).
Melting point: mp about 360°; mp 380° when anhydr
Toxicity data: LD50 orally in rats: 1.23 g/kg (Smyth)
CAUTION: Extremely corrosive. Potential symptoms of overexposure are irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory system; eye and skin burns; cough, sneezing; vomiting, diarrhea. Direct contact may cause painful burns and liquefaction necrosis. See NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (DHHS/NIOSH 97-140, 1997) p 262; Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, R. E. Gosselin et al., Eds. (Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 5th ed., 1984) Section III, pp 245-252.
Use: Manuf liq soap; mordant for wood; absorbing CO2; mercerizing cotton; paint and varnish removers; electroplating, photoengraving and lithography; printing inks; in analytical chemistry and in organic syntheses. Pharmaceutic aid (alkalizer).
Therap-Cat-Vet: Caustic. In disbudding calves' horns. In aq solution to dissolve scales and hair in skin scrapings.

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