What is Potassium Bicarbonate
Potassium bicarbonate or potassium hydrogencarbonate has the formula of KHCO3. Potassium bicarbonate is slightly salty and alkaline compound with white crystalline form. This compound is odorless and has 22.4 g/100 ml (20 degree celcius) solubility in water and practically insoluble in alcohols.
Potassium bicarbonate is produced by reaction potassium carbonate in liquid phase with carbon dioxide. After the reaction, the solution is recrystallized to form potassium bicarbonate crystal/powder. The reaction of potassium carbonate is shown below;
K2CO3 + CO2 + H2O à 2KHCO3
The Uses of Potassium Bicarbonate
- Fire extinguisher
Potassium bicarbonate is commonly used as the ingredient for fire extinguisher. It could act as a dry powder fire extinguisher, efficient fire extinguishing agent for class B (flammable liquids and gases) and class C (electrical). It is also used for automatic release system for fire prevention and scavenger of acidic fire byproducts.
- Agriculture industry
Potassium bicarbonate can be used to increase the fertility of the soil as the bicarbonate itself enhances the absorption of potassium by soils. Potassium bicarbonate can also reduce the loss of cations in acid or neutral soils and correct the pH of the soil by reducing the acidity. For crops, potassium bicarbonate can enhance the growth of plants.
Potassium bicarbonate could improve the performance in meat and dairy animals by dietary supplementation and buffering the rumen with potassium.
Potassium bicarbonate can act as a catalyst for polymerization of synthetic fibers and dehydrogenation of olefins.
- Pharmaceutical and food industry
In pharmaceutical industry, potassium bicarbonate is used as an antacid, electrolyte replenisher and potassium source supplement. In food industry, potassium bicarbonate is used as a leavening agent, pH control agent, and a nutrient supplement. Potassium bicarbonate can also be used for foaming and fizzing agent in soft drinks and for color preservative in foods.
- Other application
Potassium bicarbonate can be used a household odor remover, accelerator in fast setting cements, ingredient for aqueous resin-based coatings and adhesives, detergent builder, hair and skin products, etc.