Potassium Nitrate


Alternative (Trade) Names Saltpetre, Nitrate of potash, Vesta powder
HS Code 283421
Physical and Chemical Properties
Appearance Solid, white, slightly yellow
Molecular Formula KNO3
Mole Mass 101.1032 g/mole
Density 1.914986 g /cm3
Melting Point 334 °C
Boiling Point 400 °C
Solubility Soluble in water
Refractive Index 1.5056
Molecular Mass 85.10379 g/mol


Potassium Nitrate is an ionic compound used as a strong oxidant. This substance with the chemical formula KNO3 is available in nature as a white powder or white or gray crystalline salt. This substance is used in agriculture industry as fertilizer due to its high content of nitrogen. This substance is known as a non-flammable material, However, this ionic compound can be used as a catalyst for combustion materials. It can also explode if exposed to heat or fire for a long time. Large amounts of this Nitrate in reaction with combustion materials or fire can cause explosion.


Potassium Nitrate has many applications in various industries. The most important applications of this material is mentioned below: – It is often used as a chemical fertilizer in the agricultural industry. – Production of soap and various detergents as well as various other hygienic materials – Used in the production of chemical colors – Used in the production of medicine – Preparation and production of drilling mud – In the glass and ceramic industry in crystal and glass factories – Production of explosives and fireworks such as black powder – Used in the production of toothpaste – Rubber industry – Used as a food preservative

Potassium Nitrate uses in Agriculture

Potassium nitrate is mainly used in Agriculture to produce fertilizers. Because it is one of the basic chemicals needed in animal and plant organisms. In Agriculture industry Potassium fertilizers are the most widely used fertilizers in the world after Nitrogen and Phosphorus. It should be noted that about 95% of Potassium Nitrate is used in chemical fertilizers industry, and only the remaining part is used in other industries. The benefits of using natural or chemical fertilizers include increasing the ability and strengthening of the soil for plant growth. Because these fertilizers contain substances such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus or Potassium. The percentage of these substances is very important and vital to increase soil fertility. Other applications and benefits of using potassium in the agricultural industry include controlling the activity of enzymes, resistance to plant diseases, starch production, controlling the taste and smell of fruits and vegetables, providing energy for plant growth.

Potassium Nitrate uses in medicine

Diluted Potassium Nitrate solution is used in the pharmaceutical industry to produce medicine. In many cases where the Potassium in the patient’s body is low, Potassium salts are given by injection or orally. It should be noted that Potassium Nitrate should be used with greater caution and sensitivity for people suffering from heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders. Also, Potassium Chloride is now used for patients who are deficient in blood alkalinity or are affected by shocks due to hypoglycemia. In addition to the above uses, Potassium Nitrate is also used for people with irregular heartbeats caused by heart failure medications.

Potassium Nitrate production

There are several methods to produce Potassium Nitrate, in the following three most common methods are explained: Potassium Sulfate can be used in production of Potassium Salt. The resulting mixture should be left on low heat for about 3 to 4 hours. After performing these steps by filtering method, Calcium Sulfate is separated from Potassium Nitrate. The second method to produce Potassium Nitrate is done by reacting between Nitric Acid and Potassium Carbonate. This reaction is also accompanied by the release of some water and carbon dioxide, the resulting product is Potassium Nitrate. Another method to produce this mineral is reaction between Ammonium Nitrate and Potassium Hydroxide. The following equation shows the reaction between these two substances and KNO3 as resulting product. (NH4NO3 (aq) + KOH (aq) → NH3 (g) + KNO3 (aq) + H2O (l)

Potassium Nitrate risk

Potassium Nitrate is one of the most dangerous substances for humans, especially infants, and diseases such as methoglobinemia are the result of exposure to Potassium Nitrate. It is more common in infants who are fed milk diluted with water that contains a very high percentage of Nitrate. It should be noted that methoglobinemia is not caused by breastfeeding, even if the mother has consumed very high concentrations of Nitrate water. If nitrate enters the human body through various means, such as eating or drinking food, it becomes nitrite as soon as it reaches the intestines. It then combines with hemoglobin in the blood to form methoglobinemia, which drastically reduces blood oxygen transport. Infants are much more sensitive to Potassium Nitrate than children. In fact, methoglobinemia can rarely cause death, but it can remain in infants for years without any symptoms, adversely affecting the baby’s development and still secretly growing in the body. The child continues.

Safety tips

Normally, substances are divided into three categories in terms of toxicity, very high, medium and low toxicity. In fact, the type of self-protection against chemicals such as Potassium Nitrate depends on their toxicity as well as their physical shape. The entry of toxic substances such as Potassium Nitrate into the body through the respiratory system is one of the most common and dangerous ways of this substance entering the body. Therefor it is recommended to work with such substances in well-ventilated environments and work in completely closed places are not recommended. When dealing with moderately toxic substances, it is recommended to use ordinary masks available in the market, and setting up proper ventilation systems along with using masks can be enough for self-protection.
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