Potassium Hydroxide Vs. Sodium Hydroxide

Potassium Hydroxide Vs. Sodium Hydroxide

Potassium Hydroxide Vs Sodium Hydroxide
Sodium and potassium are highly reactive chemical elements that can be found in group 1 of the periodic table and are also known as alkali metals. They are s block elements because they have their valence electron in the outermost s orbital. Both sodium and potassium are very useful chemical elements because they form a wide variety of chemical compounds. Potassium hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide are two such compounds. They belong to the group known as alkali metal hydroxide. Alkali hydroxides are chemical compounds containing a group 1 metal cation and a –OH anion. These are ionic compounds. These hydroxides are strong bases and are very corrosive. The main difference between Potassium hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide is that Potassium hydroxide has a potassium cation and a -OH anion whereas Sodium Hydroxide has a sodium cation and –OH anion.

Difference Between Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide

What is Potassium Hydroxide?

Potassium hydroxide is an alkali metal having the chemical formula KOH. The common name of potassium hydroxide is caustic potash. At room temperature, it is a colorless solid and is a strong base. Therefore, it has many industrial and laboratory applications.

The molar mass of potassium hydroxide is 56.11 g/mol. It is an odorless solid that is very deliquescent. (Deliquescent substances are solid matter that can get dissolved by absorbing water vapor. The resulting solution is an aqueous solution.  This process is known as deliquescence. These deliquescent substances have a high affinity for water). The melting point of potassium hydroxide is 360 °C and the boiling point is 1,327 °C.

Main Difference – Potassium Hydroxide Vs Sodium Hydroxide

Potassium hydroxide is commercially available as translucent pellets and when these pellets are exposed to open air, they become tacky. The dissolution of potassium hydroxide in water is highly exothermic. Higher concentrations of potassium hydroxide are corrosive whereas moderate concentrations can cause skin irritations. Potassium hydroxide exhibits high thermal stability.

Applications

_ As a cleanser (potassium hydroxide can be found in many soaps, shampoos, etc.);
_ As a pH regulator (it is a strong alkali and can control acidity);
_ Medicinal applications (to diagnose fungal diseases);
_In common household products (alkaline batteries contain potassium hydroxide);
_As a food additive (as a stabilizer);

What is Sodium Hydroxide?

Sodium hydroxide is an alkali metal having the chemical formula NaOH. The common name for sodium hydroxide is caustic soda. It is an ionic compound containing sodium cations and –OH anions. It is a strong base.

The molar mass of sodium hydroxide is 39.99 g/mol. At room temperature, it appears as white, waxy crystals that are opaque. Sodium hydroxide is odorless. The melting point of sodium hydroxide is 318 °C and the boiling point is 1,388 °C.

Difference Between Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is highly alkali and can cause severe burns. It is highly water-soluble and is hygroscopic. This means, sodium hydroxide can absorb water vapor and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The dissolution of sodium hydroxide in water is highly exothermic.

Applications

_Cleaning and disinfectant products (used in the manufacturing of many soaps and detergents);
_ Pharmaceutical and medical applications (used in the manufacture of medicine such as aspirin);
_Water treatment (to control water acidity);
_Wood and paper products (to dissolve unwanted material in wood);
_Food products (Ex: used to remove the skin of tomatoes);

Similarities Between Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide

_Both are alkali metal hydroxides.
_ Both are strong bases.
_ Both can cause skin irritations;
_ Both are water-soluble.
_Reaction with water is highly exothermic for both compounds.
_Both can absorb water vapor from the air.

Difference Between Potassium Hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide

Potassium Hydroxide Vs. Sodium Hydroxide
Though sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are very similar, they are fundamentally different. To begin with, potassium and sodium each contribute a different number of protons. Sodium brings in 11 protons, while potassium donates 19. Likewise, the metal in sodium hydroxide is lighter than that of potassium hydroxide. This contributes to their vastly different atomic weights of 39.997 g/mol and 56.106 g/mol respectively. But their differences actually start all the way down at the molecular level. Potassium hydroxide is slightly smaller than sodium hydroxide which means it cuts through oil molecules faster than sodium hydroxide. This makes potassium hydroxide a great choice for soaps that need to remove caked-on oil.

Their reactions are slightly different as well. Both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide release heat when they react with water. But the chemical makeup of potassium hydroxide creates slightly less heat than sodium hydroxide when exposed to water. Due to production costs, potassium hydroxide is generally more expensive than sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide is produced using sodium chloride, otherwise known as plain table salt. Whereas potassium chloride, a costlier compound, is used to produce potassium hydroxide.

Potassium Hydroxide: Potassium hydroxide is an alkali metal having the chemical formula KOH.
Sodium Hydroxide: Sodium hydroxide is an alkali metal having the chemical formula NaOH.

Molar Mass

Potassium Hydroxide: The molar mass of potassium hydroxide is 56.11 g/mol.
Sodium Hydroxide: The molar mass of sodium hydroxide is 39.99 g/mol.

Melting Point and Boiling Point

Potassium Hydroxide: The melting point of potassium hydroxide is 360 °C and the boiling point is 1,327 °C.
Sodium Hydroxide: The melting point of sodium hydroxide is 318 °C and the boiling point is 1,388 °C.

Cation

.Potassium Hydroxide: Potassium hydroxide contains potassium ion cation
.Sodium Hydroxide: Sodium hydroxide contains sodium ion as the cation

Water Dissolution

Potassium Hydroxide: Potassium hydroxide is less soluble in water.
Sodium Hydroxide: Sodium hydroxide is highly soluble in water.

Conclusion


Potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide are strong bases. Both are hydroxides of alkali metals. The main difference between Potassium hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide is that Potassium hydroxide has a potassium cation and a -OH anion whereas Sodium Hydroxide has a sodium cation and –OH anion.

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