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

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  • Last Updated : 13 Sep, 2022
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Potassium is a chemical element with the symbol K . It’s atomic number is 19 with electron configuration 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s1 .It is a fourth period and first group element of the periodic table. it is most important to plant growth. The largest use of potassium is potassium chloride (KCL) and it is used in the making fertilizers. Nitrogen is a chemical element with the symbol N. Its atomic number is 7, and its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p3. 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. Oxygen is a chemical element with the symbol O. Its atomic number is 8 with electron configuration 1s2 2s2 2p4. It belongs to the charcoal group of the periodic table. It is a highly reactive nonmetal and the most prevalent element on earth. It is mainly used in the production of plastics, steel, and glass.

Potassium Nitrate Formula

Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula KNO3. It is also known as saltpeter or niter is a chemical compound consisting of potassium, nitrogen, and oxygen. Potassium nitrate is a white crystallized compound. It is a strong oxidizer. It is used in fertilizers as a source of nitrogen and potassium. Potassium nitrate is moderately soluble in water, but its solubility increases with temperature. In 1270 Syrian chemist Hasan al-Rammah described a purification process for obtaining purified potassium nitrate from saltpeter.

Structure of Potassium Nitrate


Physical Properties of Potassium Nitrate

  • Potassium Nitrate chemical formula is KNO3
  • It appears as a white crystallized solid.
  • The crystal structure is Aragonite, Orthorhombic.
  • Its molar mass is 101.1032g/mol.
  • Its density is 2.109 g/cm3
  • Its melting point is 334°C.
  • And Its boiling point is  400°C.

Chemical Properties of Potassium Nitrate

  • The chemical formula of Potassium Nitrate is KNO3
  • Potassium nitrate is moderately soluble in water, but its solubility increases with temperature.
  • Nitrate is a strong oxidizing agent because it is a source of oxygen.
  • Potassium Nitrate reacts with hydrochloric acid to make nitric acid. Add concentrated sulfuric acid to dry Potassium Nitrate, then the mixture overheats to distill the nitric acid.  
  • Potassium Nitrate combines with sulfur and charcoal to produce gunpowder also known as a black powder.        

Uses of Potassium Nitrate

  • Potassium Nitrate is used in fertilizers as a source of nitrogen and potassium.
  • It is a good source of nitrate.
  • It is used as an oxidizer in black powder. Blackpowder is used in rocket motors.
  • It is used in some food applications.
  • It is used in fireworks.
  • It is used in some toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
  • It is medically used in asthma treatment.
  • It is used as an electrolyte in a salt bridge.
  • It is widely used as a thickening agent in soups.
  • It is used as an active ingredient in condensed aerosol fire suppression systems.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: How would you separate lead iodide from potassium nitrate?


The potassium iodide and lead nitrate are added to opposite sides of a Petri dish that contains water. Both ionic compounds will separate into their individual ions. Once ions are separated, they are hydrated by the water in the Petri dish, which allows them to be carried in the solution.

Question 2: Why is potassium electrically neutral?


Positively charged protons attract negatively charged electrons, but the negatively charged electrons repel one – another As a result the atoms can attract a number of electrons until it has an equal number of protons and electrons, making the atom neutral.

Question 3: How is potassium nitrate used as fertilizer?


Potassium nitrate is used in fertilizers as a source of nitrogen and potassium. Nitrogen and potassium are the macronutrients for plants. The use of potassium nitrate in the soil is made before the growing season. A diluted solution is sometimes sprayed on plants to simulate physiological processes or to overcome nutrient deficiencies.

Question 4: How can nitrogen get into soil?


The decomposition of plants and animals adds nitrogen to the soil. Then, the bacteria present in the soil itself convert the nitrogen for the use of plants. Later, plants grow using the sme nitrogen. Again, humans eat the same plants adding nitrogen and later returning it to the soil, hence, the cycle goes on.

Question 5: What are the facts about oxygen?


Animals and plants require oxygen for respiration. Plants’ photosynthesis drives the oxygen cycle. Oxygen gas is essential for life, too much of it can be toxic. Oxygen gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Oxygen is a nonmetal. It is mainly used in steel, plastics, glass productions, and stone products and is also used in rocket propulsion.

Question 6: What are occurrences of the potassium nitrate?


Potassium nitrate occurs as crusts on the surface of the Earth, on walls and rocks, and in caves and it forms in certain soils in Spain, Italy, Egypt, and India. The deposits in the great limestones caves of Kentucky, Virginia, and Indiana probably.  

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