Potassium hydroxide is a strong base and is highly corrosive. It is an odorless, flakey or lumpy solid that is white or slightly yellow in appearance. Potassium hydroxide is hygroscopic and is difficult to dehydrate. Therefore, it is often supplied in a water solution. Concentrated solutions over 2% are highly corrosive and are sometimes referred to as potassium lyes.
Common Industrial Uses of Potassium Hydroxide
Since it is reactive toward acids, it finds many uses in industrial applications. Biodiesel manufacturing utilizes potassium hydroxide for transesterification of the triglycerides in vegetable oils and it is used to remove organic esters and sulfur compounds in the refining process of petroleum and natural gas. It is also used during the hydraulic fracturing process to control the pH of the drilling fluids.
It is also used, in an aqueous solution, as the electrolyte in alkaline batteries because it is very conductive. The corrosiveness of potassium hydroxide makes it a useful agent for decomposing soft tissue and removing hair. It is incorporated into some nail products, shaving creams, soaps, and is used by tanners when preparing animal hides.
Minimum Order Quantity
Note: CCUSA is a wholesale industrial and commercial bulk chemical supplier.
Because of the corrosive nature of potassium hydroxide, it should be handled with extreme care. Exposure to skin and eyes can cause severe irritation and burns. Lung irritation is possible if inhaled. Personal protective equipment such as facemasks, eye shields, particle respirators, and gloves should be worn when working with and handling potassium hydroxide.
In its solid form potassium hydroxide is noncombustible but when exposed to water or other substances the exothermic reaction could ignite combustible materials. It is also extremely corrosive to metals and care should be taken when using potassium hydroxide around machinery or equipment.
Common Names / Also Known As
- Caustic potash
- Potassium hydrate