Potassium carbonate, also known as pearl ash, potash, carbonate of potash, salt of wormwood and salt of tartar, is a chemical which is white in color. It is odorless and found in the form of crystalline material or granular powder. It is soluble in water and can be easily manufactured for various purposes.
It is basically used in the production of various types of soaps, fertilizers and heat-resistance glass. The traditional method of manufacturing potash includes pouring water over plant ashes in a pot. It is then evaporated to form potash. However, this method has become quite obsolete. It is in fact the first chemical that was exported by colonists in United States of America.
Some Important Facts Related to Potash
The Process of Making Potash: Potassium chloride is converted into potassium hydroxide through the process of electrolysis. It is then treated with carbon-dioxide to obtain potassium bicarbonate. It is then decomposed by heating the compound to form carbon dioxide, water and potassium carbonate.
Important Uses of Potash
Fertilizers: One of the most important uses of potash includes its application in the production of fertilizers. In addition to phosphorous and nitrogen, plants require potash for its healthy growth. More than 95% of the potash produced is used for fertilizing plants. With the use of potash based fertilizers, there has been a substantial improvement in the growth of crops. Some of the most important and visible changes in crops include-
* Enhanced taste in fruits and vegetables
* Better resistive power against diseases, pests and weeds
* Better retention of water
* Stronger stems and roots
* Better protection from drought and other extreme climatic conditions
Potash is used for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, corn, grains, soybean, rice, coffee and corn.
Industrial Chemicals: It is also used for various industrial chemicals to manufacture various chemical compounds. In the earlier days, potash was used as a major component in the manufacture of soaps. These soaps were milder than the soaps containing sodium carbonate.
Another significant use of potash is its use in the manufacture of specialty glass. It is used to manufacture optical lens, television screens and cathode ray tubes. Apart from these uses, potash is also used for a huge variety of purposes which include the following.
* Manufacture of printing inks and pigments
* To dye and wash wool
* For the purpose of pottery glazing
* It is also used as an additive in some food items which include chocolates
* Used as flux in the industry of metals
Potash is known to be used for various purposes in pharmaceutical industries. It is also used as a bleaching agent in a number of textile industries. With such a huge number of uses for potash, it is widely manufactured and marketed all over the world. Nevertheless, it is important to use potash carefully as it can cause inflammation to the eyes, skin, stomach and throat. Today potash is widely available in different forms in many of the online stores at affordable price rates.