Potassium Cyanide | Properties | Uses | Other Details - Elements and Compounds


Friday, March 3, 2023

Potassium Cyanide | Properties | Uses | Other Details

Potassium Cyanide Properties Uses and other Details

    What is Potassium Cyanide

    Potassium cyanide is a chemical compound with the formula KCN. It contains an equal number of potassium cations and cyanide ions. It is a colorless crystalline solid, similar in appearance to sugar. The taste of potassium cyanide has been compared to lye and described as caustic, bitter, and burning. Potassium cyanide is a highly toxic salt, which is highly soluble in water. Most potassium cyanide is used in gold mining, organic synthesis, and electroplating.
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    Potassium Cyanide Properties Uses and other Details

    Properties of Potassium Cyanide

    • Potassium cyanide appears as white amorphous lumps or a crystalline solid with an odor of bitter almonds.
    • Potassium cyanide is extremely toxic, even a few milligrams of it can be extremely fatal.
    • Its density is 1.52 grams per cubic centimeter.
    • Its molar mass is 65.12 g/mol.
    • Its melting point is 634.5 °C and its boiling point is 1625 °C.
    • It is highly soluble in water.
    • It slowly decomposes when exposed to carbon dioxide and moisture in the air.
    • When potassium cyanide is heated to decomposition, it emits very toxic fumes of dipotassium oxide, hydrogen cyanide, and nitrogen oxides.
    • Potassium cyanide, when reacted with hydrogen peroxide, forms a less harmful cyanide derivative. KCN+ H2O2 -> KOCN+ H2O.
    • Potassium cyanide releases highly flammable and toxic hydrogen cyanide gas on contact with water or moist air and on ignition.
    • A solution of potassium cyanide in water is a strong base, it reacts violently with acids and is corrosive.

    Uses of Potassium Cyanide

    • Potassium cyanide is widely used in gold and silver mining processes.
    • It is used in organic synthesis for the preparation of nitriles and carboxylic acids.
    • In analytical chemistry it is used as a reagent.
    • It is used in the electroplating process.
    • Potassium cyanide is used for the preparation of plastics and other organic synthesis.
    • It is also used to make hydantoins, which can serve as helpful synthetic intermediates by combining with carbonyl chemicals such as aldehydes or ketones in the presence of ammonium carbonate.
    • It is used as a photographic fixer in the wet plate collodion process.

    Other information

    • Potassium cyanide is produced by the reaction of hydrogen cyanide with an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide, followed by evaporation of the solution in a vacuum to yield pure potassium cyanide :- HCN + KOH → KCN + H2O.
    • According to an estimate, about 50,000 tons of potassium cyanide are produced annually.
    • The effects of potassium cyanide and sodium cyanide are similar, and symptoms of poisoning usually occur within minutes of ingesting the substance. Its toxicity causes a person to lose consciousness, and eventually brain death. During this, the victim may also have cramps. Death is due to cerebral hypoxia.
    • A mixture of potassium cyanide and nitrite can cause an explosion.
    • Nitrogen chloride can explode when it comes in contact with potassium cyanide.

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