|Molar mass||368.35 g/mol (anhydrous)
422.388 g/mol (trihydrate)
|Appearance||Light yellow, crystalline granules.|
|Density||1.85 g/cm3 (trihydrate)|
|Melting point||69 to 71 °C (156 to 160 °F; 342 to 344 K)|
|Boiling point||400 °C (752 °F; 673 K) (decomposes)|
|Solubility in water||trihydrate
28.9 g/100 mL (20 °C)
|Solubility||insoluble in ethanol, ether|
|EU Index||Not listed|
|R-phrases||R32, R52, R53|
|LD50||6400 mg/kg (oral, rat)|
|Other anions||Potassium ferricyanide|
|Other cations||Sodium ferrocyanide
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
|(what is: / ?)|
Potassium ferrocyanide is produced industrially from hydrogen cyanide, ferrous chloride, and calcium hydroxide, the combination of which affords Ca2[Fe(CN)6] · 11H2O. This solution is then treated with potassium salts to precipitate the mixed calcium-potassium salt CaK2[Fe(CN)6], which in turn is treated with potassium carbonate to give the tetrapotassium salt.
Historically, the compound was manufactured from organically derived nitrogenous carbon sources, iron filings, and potassium carbonate. Common nitrogen and carbon sources were torrified horn, leather scrap, offal, or dried blood.
Treatment of potassium ferrocyanide with nitric acid gives H2[Fe(NO)(CN)5]. After neutralization of this intermediate with sodium carbonate, red crystals of sodium nitroprusside can be selectively crystallized.
- 2 K4[Fe(CN)6] + Cl2 → 2 K3[Fe(CN)6] + 2 KCl
This reaction can be used to remove potassium ferrocyanide from a solution.
Potassium ferrocyanide finds many niche applications in industry. It and the related sodium salt are widely used as anticaking agents for both road salt and table salt. The potassium and sodium ferrocyanides are also used in the purification of tin and the separation of copper from molybdenum ores. Potassium ferrocyanide is used in the production of wine and citric acid.
In the laboratory, potassium ferrocyanide is used to determine the concentration of potassium permanganate, a compound often used in titrations based on redox reactions. Potassium ferrocyanide is used in a mixture with potassium ferricyanide and phosphate buffered solution to provide a buffer for X-Gal, which is used to cleave beta-galactosidase, giving a bright blue visualization where an antibody (or other molecule), conjugated to Beta-gal, has bonded to its target.
Potassium ferrocyanide can be used as a fertilizer for plants.
Prior to 1900 AD, before the invention of the Castner process, potassium ferrocyanide was the most important source of alkali metal cyanides. In this historical process, potassium cyanide was produced by decomposing potassium ferrocyanide:
K4[Fe(CN)6] → 4 KCN + FeC2 + N2
Potassium ferrocyanide is nontoxic, although upon contact with strong acid it can release extremely toxic hydrogen cyanide gas. It is not decomposed to cyanide in the body. The toxicity in rats is low, with lethal dose (LD50) at 6400 mg/kg.
- "POTASSIUM FERROCYANIDE MSDS Number: P5763 - Effective Date: 12/08/96". J. T. Baker Inc. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
- Gail, E.; Gos, S.; Kulzer, R.; Lorösch, J.; Rubo, A.; Sauer, M.; Kellens, R.; Reddy, J.; Steier, N.; Hasenpusch, W. (October 2011). "Cyano Compounds, Inorganic". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a08_159.pub3.
- Von Wagner, Rudolf (1897). Manual of chemical technology. New York: D. Appleton & Co. p. 474 & 477.
- Seel, F. (1965). "Sodium Nitrosyl Cyanoferrate". In Brauer, G. Handbook of Preparative Inorganic Chemistry 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Academic Press. p. 1768. LCCN 63-14307.
- "Cyanide (inorganic) compounds fact sheet". National Pollutant Inventory Australia.