There are many chemicals involved in our daily lives. For example, when we are doing the dishes or the laundry, we use soap and detergent to make sure that all the dishes and the laundry are clean.
In the process of creating both the soap and the detergent, surfactants are one the compounds involved. This particular compound is useful for removing dirt from your clothes and household goods, especially the ones in the kitchen and the bathroom.
Surfactants are only one of many examples of chemicals which benefit we might not notice. Another example that we are going to learn is Potassium Carbonate.
What is it and what are the uses of Potassium Carbonate? Let’s find out!
- What Is It?
Potassium Carbonate or formula K2CO3 is a compound which has characteristic of white salt and just like salt this compound is dissolved in water. There are three elements that formed this compound they are potassium, carbon, and oxygen.
Based on its compounds, Potassium Carbonate is categorized as an inorganic compound which means it lacks C-H bonds. There is a misunderstanding that inorganic compounds do not exist in living things. This is not true because many of simple carbon contained compounds classified as inorganic compounds as well do appear in organisms.
- How To Produce It?
As mentioned above, Potassium Carbonate is one of the chemicals contained in the products commonly used by so many people, which means it must be produced commercially by the manufacturers or the producers. There is a couple of methods to produce Potassium Carbonate.
- First method: convert Potassium Chloride (a compound that is the most similar with common salt) to Potassium Hydroxide by electrolysis, a process of elements separation.
After the Potassium Hydroxide is formed, treat it with carbon dioxide in order to get Potassium Bicarbonate. At the final stage, the Potassium Bicarbonate is processed through decomposition by heating and yielding water to produce Potassium Carbonate.
- Second method: the second technique is called the Engel-Precht process. The process starts with mixing Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Carbonate or Magnesium Oxide, and Carbon Dioxide.
The mixture then treated with both the pressure of under 30 atmospheres and the formation of double salt, which later treated with heat to produce Potassium Carbonate.
- What Are The Uses?
Just like the other chemicals, Potassium Carbonate has many benefits. These are some of the uses of Potassium Carbonate:
One of the uses of Potassium Carbonate is as an ingredient in the making of various kinds of food. For example, this is the ingredient of grass jelly (a dessert made of jelly popular in East and Southeast Asia) production.
Potassium Carbonate is also one of the ingredients used in making the hand-pulled noodles (lamian) and moon cake, both are famous Chinese cuisine. It is not only used in Asian meals, but this particular ingredient is also useful in the making of German gingerbread. In its baking process, Potassium Carbonate is mixed with hartshorn (a salt).
The combination of the two elements is used as the leavening agent. Just make sure that the amount of both elements mixed into the dough is right. This chemical is also added in the process of producing Dutch process chocolate or Dutched chocolate.
In that process, Potassium Carbonate plays the role of balancing the pH of the cocoa beans, as well as strengthening the aroma.
Wine production uses Potassium Carbonate as a buffering agent. As the buffering agent, the use of Potassium Carbonate is to helpfully maintain the acidity of the solution.
The adding of this inorganic compound is done before the fermentation because the chance of losing the aroma compounds is smaller at this stage. We all know how important the aroma aspect is in the wine.
Not only beneficial for producing food and drinks, but Potassium Carbonate also has a beneficial job in the pharmaceutical laboratory. This element is used as a mild drying agent. Potassium Carbonate is not the only drying agent used commonly.
There are also other agents like Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Sulfate but they are not compatible with small acidic contaminant cases. It can also be used to dry ketones, alcohols, and amines before it goes through distillation.
Have you ever heard of effervescent tablets? This is a product in which we can find the content and the use of Potassium Carbonate. It is very easy to find effervescent tablets in the markets or in the drugstores. It is also very easy to consume.
You just need to drop the tablets into a glass of water and it will be dissolved. With the content of Potassium Carbonate in it, the effervescent tablet is able to provide potassium for your body especially when the level of it is low. It is usually caused by the poor quality of diet, vomiting, or diarrhea.