Potassium Alum: Properties, Preparation, Uses

Alum is a double salts and its common formula is R2SO4.M2(SO4)3.24H2O.

Where

R = A valence metal Such as: K, Na, NH4

M = Tri valent metal Such as: Fe, Al, Cr

It is not necessary to write the name of a valence metal in which the potassium is present as a valence metal. Similarly, the name of tri-metal is not necessary to write the name of alum in which aluminium is present as trivalent metal.

  • K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.2H2O                       – Potassium alum
  • (NH4)2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O           – Ammonium Alum
  • (NH4)2SO4.Fe2(SO4)3.24H2O           -Ferric ammonium Alum
  • K2SO4.Cr2(SO4)3.2H2O                       – Chromium alum
alum formula

Pseudo Alums

They are also double salts but they have the common atomic RSO4.M2(SO4)3.24H2O.

Where

R = A valence metal Such as: Cu, Fe(II), Zn, Mg

M = Trivalent metal Such as: Fe(III), Al, Cr

Like:

MnSO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O

CuSO4.Fe2(SO4)3.24H2O

Potassium Alum

Potassium alum is also called ordinary alum or potash alum. If only alum or alum are used for the name of a substance, it usually means potassium alum. It is chemical name is potassium aluminium sulfate. Chemical formula of Potassium alum is KAl(SO₄)₂.

Potassium alum

Preparation of Potassium Alum

By mixing the hot solutions of pot and aluminum in proportion to the corresponding weight, the crystals of ordinary alum are formed.

K2SO4 + Al2(SO4)3 + 24H2O K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O

Bauxite Method(Industrial Preparation)

Bauxite is heated by mixing it with concentrated H2SO4. And after filtering the solution, add the appropriate amount of potassium sulfate. Crystals of alum are obtained on cooling.

Al2O3 + 3H2SO4 3H2O + Al2(SO4)3

Al2(SO4)3 + K2SO4 + 24H2O K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O

Alunite method(Industrial Preparation)

The alunite is heated by mixing it with concentrated H2SO4 and after filtering the solution, add appropriate amount of potassium sulfate. Crystals of alum are obtained on cooling.

K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.4Al(OH)3 + 6H2SO4 K2SO4 + 3Al2(SO4)3 + 12H2O

K2SO4 + Al2(SO4)3 + 24H2O K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O

Physical Properties

It is a white crystalline substance. It is merged with water and is dissolved in alcohol. The alum solution in water is acidic.

Chemical Properties

Effect of heat: On heating to 92°C, it melts and crystal water is released and the dry matter remains which is called burnt alum.

K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O Al2O3 + K2O + 4SO3 + 24H2O

Effect of water: It dissolves in water and it gets divided into its ions according to the ionic principle. The properties of a solution depend only on the properties of the ions present in it.

K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O K2SO4 + Al2(SO4)3 + 24H2O

K2SO4 ⇌ 2K+ + SO42—

Al2(SO4)3 ⇌ 2Al3+ + 3SO42–

In addition to ionization of aluminum sulphate in the presence of water, its water decomposition also occurs.

Al2(SO4)3 + 6H2O ⇌ 2Al(OH)3 + 3H2SO4

Al(OH)3 and H2SO4 are formed due to water decomposition of aluminum sulfate, which is weak alkali and strong acid respectively. Hence, the aqueous solution of alum is acidic.

Effect of alkali: White precipitate of aluminium hydroxide is obtained by adding NaOH solution to alum solution, which dissolves in excess of NaOH.

K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O K2SO4 + Al2(SO4)3 + 24H2O

Al2(SO4)3 + 6NaOH 2Al(OH)3 + 3Na2SO4

Al(OH)3 + NaOH NaAlO2 + 2H2O

Similarly, white precipitate of aluminum hydroxide is also obtained by adding KOH solution to alum solution. Which dissolves in excess of KOH to form potassium meta aluminate(KAlO2).

Alum also gives a white precipitate with NH4OH. By filtering and separating this white precipitate, Al2(SO4)3 is obtained when dissolved in H2SO4 and alumina is obtained on heating.

K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O K2SO4 + Al2(SO4)3 + 24H2O

Al2(SO4)3 + 6NH4OH 2Al(OH)3 + 3(NH4)2SO4

2Al(OH)3 + 3H2SO4 Al2(SO4)3 + 6H2O

2Al(OH)3 + Al2O3 + 3H2O

Potassium Alum uses

The coagulating power of alum is high. It precipitates Colloidal Solution. This property of alum is used to stop the bleeding. It prevents blood from flowing through it.

The coagulating power of alum is also used in purifying water. It precipitates colloidal impurities present in the water, which can be filtered and separated.

It uses in calico printing

Leather is used in rubbing and in paper factories.

Used as a mordant in extinguishing fire and in dyeing of clothes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top