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Potassium Cyanide Formula – Structure, Properties, Uses, Sample Questions

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  • Last Updated : 12 May, 2022
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Potassium is a chemical element with the symbol K . Its atomic number is 19. It’s electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p64s1. It is a silvery-white metal. It is a mineral that your body needs to work properly, and it is a type of electrolyte. It is the most abundant intracellular cation. It is an essential nutrient that is naturally present in many foods like vegetables and fruits. Carbon is a chemical element with the symbol C. Its atomic number is 6 .it’s electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p2. It belongs to the 14th group of the periodic table. It is a nonmetallic and tetravalent-making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. It can be found in all living structures. It is an important element because it plays a very important role in real life. It was discovered by H. Moissan in the year of 1886. Nitrogen is a chemical element with the symbol N. Its atomic number is 7, and its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p3. It has five electrons in its outer shell, so it’s trivalent in most compounds. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless element. Nitrogen is the most abundant element in Earth’s atmosphere approximately 78% of the atmosphere is nitrogen. 

Potassium Cyanide Formula

Potassium Cyanide is a chemical compound with the formula KCN. It is a colorless crystalline salt, it’s appearance same as sugar. It is highly soluble in water. It contains an equal number of potassium cations and cyanide anions. Cyanide compounds are widely used in industry. For example, Potassium cyanide and Sodium cyanide are used in the extraction of gold and silver from low grades. Cyanide exists in several forms the salt forms are  Potassium cyanide and Sodium cyanide and the gaseous form is hydrogen cyanide. This compound is made up of a solid base (KOH) and a weak acid (HCN).

Structure Of Potassium Cyanide


Physical Properties Of Potassium Cyanide

  • Potassium Cyanide has a molar mass of 65.12 g/mol.
  • Its density is 1.52 g/.cm3
  • Its melting point is 634.5°C.
  • Its boiling point is1.625°C.
  • its appearance is white crystalline solid.

Chemical Properties Of Potassium Cyanide

  • The potassium Cyanide chemical formula is KCN.
  • Potassium Cyanide can be detoxified with hydrogen peroxide or with a solution of sodium hypochlorite.

KCN + H2O2 ⇢ KOCN + H2O

  • Potassium Cyanide in gold mining forms the water-soluble salt potassium gold cyanide and potassium hydroxide from gold metal in the presence of oxygen and water.

4 Au + 8 KCN + O2 + 2 H2O ⇢ 4K[Au(CN)2] + 4 KOH.

Uses Of Potassium Cyanide

  1. Potassium Cyanide is widely used in gold and silver mining procedures.
  2. Potassium Cyanide is used in organic synthesis for the preparation of nitriles and carboxylic acids.
  3. It is used commercially for fumigation and electroplating.
  4. it is used as a photographic fixer in the wet plate collodion process.
  5.  it is used as a reagent in analytical chemistry.

Sample Questions

Question 1: Why is Potassium Cyanide ( KCN) used instead of Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN)?


The product of the reaction is a hydroxy nitrite. KCN is often used as the reagent to provide the nucleophile instead of HCN. This is because HCN is hard to store as gas and reacts to produce dangerous byproducts.

Question 2: What are the differences between Potassium Cyanide ( KCN) and Sodium Cyanide (NaCN)


These two compounds are mainly used in gold mining through they are highly toxic compounds. The main difference between Potassium Cyanide (KCN) and Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) is that  Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) is produced via treating Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) with sodium hydroxide, whereas Potassium Cyanide ( KCN) is produced via treating Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) with Potassium hydroxide.

Question 3: Is Potassium Cyanide a basic salt?


Potassium cyanide is a salt of a strong base and weak acid. This compound is water-reactive which produces a strong base that reacts violently and is corrosive in nature.

Question 4: What are the types of carbon?


There are three types of carbon they are,

  1. Graphite
  2. Diamond
  3. Fullerene

These three forms are called allotropes of carbon. These are found in the form of crystals instead of molecules. Among these three forms, graphite is the purest form of carbon.

Question 5: How to remove cyanide from food?


Sun-drying is the solution to remove cyanide from food. Soaking or boiling alone in removing cyanide. Sun-drying eliminates more cyanide than oven drying because of the prolonged contact time between linamarase and the glucosides in sun drying. 

Question 6: Is Potassium Cyanide ( KCN) harmful to health?


Yes, it is harmful to health. It is a potent inhibitor of cellular respiration. A person suffers from headaches, vomiting, and dizziness which can be harmful to human health. The person may also lose consciousness and brain death eventually follows.

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