What is potassium oxide?

Potassium oxide

The chemistry is a very broad science that has as main objective to study the chemical elements and how they can get to interact with each other or different elements. For this, there are chemical compounds which are substances that are made up of two or more elements included in the periodic table. One of these chemical compounds is potassium oxide , an ionic compound basically made up of oxygen and potassium .

Potassium oxide |  What is it, characteristics, structure, properties, formulaWhat is potassium oxide?

The potassium oxide is a type of chemical type ion consisting of potassium and oxygen which is considered a foreign compound because of its great capacity for reaction .

  • Potassium oxide characteristics
  • Structure
  • Formula
  • Nomenclature
  • Potassium Oxide Physical Properties
  • Chemical properties
  • Obtaining
  • Potassium oxide uses
  • Risks

Potassium oxide characteristics

Among the most notable characteristics that can be found in potassium oxide, the following are mentioned:

  • It is also known by the name of dipotassium oxide.
  • It is a type of ionic salt made up of potassium and oxygen .
  • Has a high level of reaction .
  • It is an insoluble chemical compound .
  • It has the great capacity to capture the water molecules that are in the air of the atmosphere and with this, it will initiate a violent reaction.
  • Potassium oxide is a reagent used to check for other compounds in chemical reactions .
  • It is a type of oxide considered basic .
  • It is also considered a very unstable type of substance .
  • It is corrosive .


Potassium oxide is an ionic compound formed by the combination of potassium and oxygen. The two cations are attached to the anion through ionic bonds . The molecule has an antifluorite crystal structure , with one cation bound to 4 anions and each anion bound to 8 cations . Its chemical structure can be described as follows, in the common representations used for organic molecules.

Potassium oxide - structure


The molecular formula of potassium oxide is K2O .


The nomenclature used to name potassium oxide is mentioned below:

  • Stock nomenclature: potassium oxide
  • Systematic Nomenclature: Dipotassium Monoxide
  • Traditional nomenclature: potassium oxide .

Potassium Oxide Physical Properties

Potassium oxide is in the form of tetrahedral crystals which have a yellowish color . This type of chemical compound does not have any characteristic odor and has a molecular weight of 94.2 g / mol. It also has a density of 2.13 g / ml when it is at a temperature of 24 ° Celsius.

Its melting point is located at 740 ° Celsius but it can begin to undergo decomposition when it reaches a temperature close to 300 ° Celsius. It is also characterized by having a very good resistance to heat and has the ability to be soluble when in the presence of ether and ethanol.

Chemical properties

It is a chemical compound that may suffer from oxidation becoming peroxide of potassium when it is at temperatures reaching 350 ° C. Reacts very violently when in the presence of acids . It has the property of being able to react also when it comes into contact with water, becoming a compound that can initiate extremely violent reactions .


Potassium oxide is not a chemical compound that can be found freely or naturally in the environment and for this reason, the only way to obtain it is through chemical reactions in a laboratory. The first way in which this compound can be obtained is through a reaction of potassium with oxygen , in this type of reaction , potassium peroxide is formed , a compound that has the chemical formula 2 O 2 .

When this aforementioned reaction is carried out again, then the oxide, whose formula is 2 O 2 + 2 K → 2 K 2 O, can be obtained . Another way in which potassium oxide can be obtained is through the synthesis of 2 O taking as a starting point metallic potassium with potassium nitrate using heat to obtain in this way the following chemical formula 2 KNO 3 + 10 K → 6 K 2 O + N 2 .

Potassium oxide uses

The main uses of potassium oxide are the following:

  • It is used in the industrial field , mainly for the creation of cement and glass .
  • In chemical products that are used in laboratories .
  • Manufacture of fertilizers , polymers and various types of products that are used as phytosanitary products . However, it is important to emphasize that in these products, the potassium oxide is not pure because if so, the bags that contain them would end up exploding. In this case is as cloridio potassium , potassium sulphate or as potassium carbonate.
  • It is used to produce potassium carbonate which will later be used in other fields such as in the manufacture of dyes , soaps , textile printing , titanium enamels , in agents that act as dehydrating agents and in the manufacture of fire extinguishing powders .


As the risks connected with potassium oxide, the first thing to keep in mind is that such chemical compound has the ability to react so violently when in presence of the water because it is very unstable. It is also an extremely corrosive substance for the human body , mainly the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.

When potassium oxide comes into contact with the skin or the eyes, it can cause a series of side effects such as severe pain , loss of vision and burning . If ingested , this compound can cause severe pain in the abdomen, in the mouth, burns in the gastrointestinal system, diarrhea and a significant decrease in blood pressure.

Because iron oxide is used in the manufacture of various chemicals, in plastic products, and in products such as plaster and cement, small amounts of it may be released into the environment . In the same way, it can be released when substances that contain it are used as an ingredient in machine washes, detergents, paints, coatings and some products used to care for vehicles.

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