Talk:Potassium carbonate

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Clicking on the "more info" = Hazardous Chemical Database on the Properties panel (= about Safety)doesn't codunct to Potassium carbonat! Please, can you correct this programmation error?

Fixed it, nice catch. Snowmanmelting 18:11, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Cream of tartar[edit]

The article says that cream of tartar is another name for potassium carbonate, but the link redirects to potassium bitartrate. Which is right? 21:48, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Making potash from eg wood ashes gives a rather impure form containing other cations and anions albeit it can be purified to some extent. Cream of tartar is, as observed, not potassium carbonate but an organic salt, (bi)tartrate, of potassium. It is relatively pure and can probably be easily purified by recrystallization. It can also be easily converted into potassium carbonate by calcination, heating it in air burning the potassium hydrogen tartrate yielding carbon dioxide, water vapour and potassium carbonate. I believe pearl ash refers to this high quality potash (and possibly for refined potash from other sources). If calcined in the absence of air a mixture of potassium carbonate and charcoal results. This mixture could be used for the pyrometalurgical preparation of potassium metal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

The confused statements about cream of tartar and pearl ash might have be taken from (or is it the other way round?).

Solvay process[edit]

Is it worth mentioning that potassium carbonate cannot be made by the Solvay process due to the high solubility of potassium bicarbonate? Although I can't find any direct references stating this, I am almost sure this is the case. Chris Barile 23:38, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

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"Highly flammable"[edit]

It makes no sense to me that this substance could be highly flammable if it has a red zero in its safety box. Evercat (talk) 18:50, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

This compound is not flammable ! User:Jjd323 (Talk) introduced the flammable info 10 Nov 2008 with other edits to R-S phrases, while I have not checked these other edits searching background references, they seem OK. Jjd323 must have confused the flammability issue. Power.corrupts (talk) 12:46, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Pearl Ash[edit]

Directly under the "Applications" heading, the substance Pearl Ash is referred to as both Pearl Ash and Pearlash in a single sentence. Please could this be corrected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:58, 8 November 2009 (UTC)


Is this stuff toxic? I just discovered some leaking NiMH batteries, and I'm sure some of the crystals got onto the carpet. Is it OK if a baby crawls around and ends up getting some of it into his mouth? Answer: If I were you, I'd let the Potassium Carbonate dissolve through the floor before you let the infant get it into its system...—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:28, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

The above is right and wrong at the same time: NiMH batteries' electrolyte can be quite toxic because of OTHER chemical components in the electrolyte, but potassium carbonate (the major component of the electrolyte) is essentially safe. Riventree (talk) 11:20, 22 December 2012 (UTC)


The infobox claims it doesn't boil, but decomposes instead. I can't find any references that agree. Potassium BIcarbonate decomposes, but I'm pretty sure potassium carbonate (like sodium carbonate) will boil. Unfortunately, I don't have the gear to test this theory, so I'm hoping someone else will double-check this data. Riventree (talk) 11:22, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Lewis Formula is wrong[edit]

The formula showed on the top right image is wrong. There is a double bound between O==O- whereas it should be C==O-. Can anybody fix this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Walabit (talkcontribs) 09:29, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

History: Antonio Campanella ?[edit]

At present, the History section states: "Potassium carbonate was first identified in 1742 by Antonio Campanella … " This statement was added on 22 December 2005. This claim is almost certainly false.

(1) This claim is not referenced — even more than 10 years after it was first posted.

(2) Although other sites on the Internet repeat this claim — word for word, which suggests that they copied it from Wikipedia — none of those sites reference it either. So apparently no one has been able to find a reference for it, which suggests that none exists — because the claim is false.

(3) If anyone had bothered to check even Wikipedia's article on "Potassium", they would have discovered that potassium was not isolated until 1807 (by English chemist Humphry Davy). How could Antonio Campenella have recognized that potash contained potassium carbonate — before potassium was even known to exist? … or even named?

I am therefore deleting this claim. If someone can substantiate it, they can restore it. VexorAbVikipædia (talk) 07:43, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Not knowing the details of who did what when I am rather confident that it was around this time that scientists started to realize the distinction between potassium and sodium compounds and also to suspect that they were salts of unknown metals. They could for example observe differences in chemical properties, e.g. solubilities and crystal shapes. They might observe that potash and soda require different amount of acid when titrated. Isolating metallic potassium is not necessary to make the distinction between potassium and sodium compounds. By the time the scientists started to apply scientific methods for this distinction it was probably already known from technology that soda and potash produced different results in e.g. soap and glass making but the commercial products of that time were often quite impure making the distinction more difficult. The claim of Campenella discovery is not unlikely, but as I said I don't know the details and it is likely that several scientists were involved in the alkali distinction breakthrough.

The (historical) potash section of the main potassium article mentions Georg Ernst Stahl (1702) and Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1736) as instrumental in making the distinction between sodium and potassium albeit the acceptance of the distinction appears to have been slow. It thus appears that Campanella might have played a minor role in the understanding of the nature of potash (the product was certainly known before him!). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:37, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
Here's the problem: If you search for an Italian chemist or pharmacist around 1742 whose name was "Antonio Campanella", you won't find anything. No one has ever mentioned anyone by that name in connection with potash or potassium. For example, after Davy isolated potassium in 1807, no one wrote something like: "One will recall that in 1742, Campanella recognized a new metallic element in potash." In 2005, some joker added the claim about Campanella, and in the following ten years or more, no one bothered to investigate whether that claim was true. VexorAbVikipædia (talk) 12:54, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

(Insoluble in Ethanol)[edit]

It seems odd to me that the reference [2] for this claim is a paper on the solubility of potassium carbonate in methanol. Can somebody find a paper on solubility in ethanol? Or should the claim be changed to (insoluble in methanol)? DABurbank (talk) 21:47, 11 May 2016 (UTC)