What is potassium chlorate?

Potassium chlorate

In the field of chemistry there are a large number of important compounds for humans as they intervene in several of their activities. An example is the chlorate Potassium an oxidizing agent sufficiently strong that it can be used in different ways and is considered one of the main components in creating fires artificial , explosives and disinfectants . Because it is a fairly strong oxidant, it must be handled with caution and mainly avoid that it comes into contact with organic and inorganic matter such as iodine and phosphorus.

Potassium chlorate |  What is it, characteristics, properties, formula, usesWhat is potassium chlorate?

The potassium chlorate , also known by the name of chlorate potassium , is a kind of salt that is composed of the anion chlorate and potassium anion . It is a substance that is commonly found in the field of industry and in laboratories .

  • Potassium chlorate characteristics
  • History
  • Potassium Chlorate Formula
  • Nomenclature
  • Properties (edit)
  • Potassium chlorate uses
  • Obtaining
  • Chemical decomposition
  • How it differs from potassium chloride

Potassium chlorate characteristics

Among the most important characteristics of potassium chlorate are the following:

  • In its purest form it can be found in the form of white crystals .
  • It is used as a type of oxidant .
  • The contact with potassium chloride for months or years can have significant health risks which include risk of cancer , problems for reproduction and lung irritation .
  • It can be found in the form of a crystalline solid , as white granules or powder .
  • It has a molecular mass of 122.55 g / mol.
  • It has a density of 2.32 g / cm 3 .
  • Its melting point is located at 368 ° Celsius while its boiling point is -400 ° Celsius.
  • Its state of aggregation can be found as solid, gaseous, liquid or plasma.
  • It is classified as a dangerous element for the environment .


The use of potassium chlorate to make phosphorous matches dates back to 1826 , when the English chemist John Walker managed to combine it with antimony (III) sulfide , gum and starch. In forming the matches , the mixture sometimes ignited when struck against the sandpaper. Later, white phosphorus came to replace antimony sulfide in order to make the matches more reliable. Finally, the toxic white phosphorus was replaced by the red allotrope.

Potassium Chlorate Formula

The molecular formula of potassium chlorate is as follows: KClO3


The nomenclature used to name potassium chlorate is shown below:

  • Systematic nomenclature : it is known by the name of potassium trioxoclotate (V).
  • Nomenclature stock : in this type of nomenclature is called potassium chlorate.
  • Traditional nomenclature : it is known as potassium chlorate.

Properties (edit)

Among the main properties of potassium chlorate we find the following:

  • It has the ability to explode when it comes in contact with sulfuric acid.
  • It is quite soluble in water but is insoluble in alcohol .
  • Potassium chlorate is a substance considered strongly oxidizing .
  • When it is subjected to very high pressures and temperatures, it loses its stability and can react on contact with some elements, releasing energy.
  • It can produce quite significant toxicity when it is in water, affecting aquatic organisms and the environment .
  • It can react when it is in the presence of metallic powders , it has been sulfuric, alcohol or in the presence of substances that are located in the ammonium group.

Potassium chlorate uses

Potassium chlorate has a wide variety of uses. It can be used as a type of supplement in cases of potassium deficiency in blood levels, mainly when hypokalemia occurs , very low levels of potassium ion in the blood. It is important to mention that most individuals maintain adequate levels of potassium through their diet, but on some occasions, the level can be reduced by problems such as diarrhea , hormonal problems , diuretic treatments or prolonged vomiting .

Other uses of potassium chlorate is as a substitute for salt as it has the ability to provide a salty taste and, at the same time, helps in microbiological control and in the modification of food proteins , generating a notable improvement in texture . the taste and shelf life of them. It can be found in foods such as frozen food, cereals, infant formulas, sports drinks and nutritional bars among others.

Potassium chlorate is also used to enhance the growth of plants and is administered to the same for treating hypokalemia . In industry , it is used as a kind of purifier when doing different metal welding jobs , it works very well as a de- icer in home use. Finally, a rare use is in the lethal injection that is used in some parts of the world because it causes the heart to stop.


Potassium chlorate can be found in free form in the form of sylvite , it can also be extracted from salt water or it can be obtained by crystallizing a solution using means such as flotation and electrostatic separation of the correct minerals. It can also be prepared by turning chlorine into potassium hydroxide after it has been concentrated while hot.

Chemical decomposition

Potassium chlorate can be decomposed through the application of heat into potassium and molecular oxygen . This type of reaction occurs slowly when it is carried out at room temperature and for that reason it is necessary to heat it to temperatures that are higher than 400 degrees centigrade so that in this way oxygen can be produced at a rate considered acceptable.

When potassium chlorate is heated strongly, it decomposes releasing oxygen gas and leaving behind a thermally stable, in other words, heat insensitive, solid residue of an ionic potassium compound. The decomposition of potassium chlorate is represented as follows:

2KClO 3 -> 2KCl + 3O 2

How it differs from potassium chloride?

The main differences between potassium chlorate and potassium chloride are as follows:

  • There is an important difference between the chemical properties of chloride, chlorate, and perchlorate anions. The chloride anion is not an oxidizing agent because it does not contain oxygen, while the chlorate anion does contain oxygen so it is an oxidizing agent.
  • Potassium chloride has a higher melting point than potassium chlorate. This is due to Coulomb’s Law of Force which indicates that K + and Cl- have opposite charges and have an attractive force between the cation and the anion, which is called an ionic bond . There is a smaller distance between K + and Cl- compared to the distance between K + and ClO3-, so the force of attraction is greater in KCl.

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