What is potassium hydroxide?

What is potassium hydroxide?
KOH
Potassium hydroxide has the formula KOH, and is composed of the elements potassium (K), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H).
It is considered a strong base (it dissociates completely in water to form K+ and OH-).
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What is potassium used for?
Potassium is used in medicine!
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What would potassium hydroxide be used for in the power washing industry?
Saponifying oils for liquid soap

The chemical compound potassium hydroxide, (KOH) sometimes known as caustic potash, potassa, potash lye, and potassium hydrate, is a metallic base. It is very alkaline and is a “strong base”, along with sodium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, barium hydroxide and strontium hydroxide.

Uses
In agriculture, potassium hydroxide is used to correct the pH of acidic soils. It can also be used as a fungicide or even an herbicide.

It is a major industrial chemical used as a base in a wide variety of chemical processes. Some uses of KOH include acrylate ester copolymer coating, defoaming agents used in the manufacture of paper, saponifying oils for liquid soap, formulation aid for food, pH control agent, polyethylene resins, textile processing and as a catalyst in reactions like the production of biodiesel.

Other uses include veterinary medicine in disbudding calves horns and to dissolve scales and hair, human medicine, to diagnose fungal infections (see KOH test) and as a wart and cuticle solvent, and in the manufacture of cleansers. This type of compound is also used in washing powders, some denture cleaners, non-phosphate detergents, and drain or pipe cleaners.

A very significant use of KOH in terms of significance to the layperson is that alkaline batteries use an aqueous solution of KOH as an electrolyte. Thus, potassium hydroxide helps to power flashlights, smoke detectors, and other battery-powered household items.

It is also an anisotropic etchant of silicon, exposing octahedral planes. This technique can create pyramids and regularly-shaped etch pits for uses such as micro electromechanical systems.

Food preparation
Food uses of lye include washing or chemical peeling of fruits and vegetables, chocolate and cocoa processing, caramel color production, poultry scalding, soft drink processing, and thickening ice cream. Olives are often soaked in lye to soften them and neutralize natural acids, while pretzels and German lye rolls are glazed with a lye solution before baking to make them crisp.

Lye is used to make the Scandinavian delicacy known as lutefisk (from lutfisk, “lye fish”). Cod is soaked in lye to a jelly-like consistency, then served with bacon fat, potatoes, brown cheese (brunost) sauce and mushy peas. Hominy is dried maize (corn) kernels reconstituted by soaking in lye.
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What is Potassium Hydroxide used for?
Agriculture

Correction of the pH of acidic soils[7]
As a fungicide[8]
As a herbicide[9]

Biological and medical tests and diagnostics

KOH test[10] (to diagnose fungal infections).
Whiff test[11] (to diagnose bacterial vaginosis).
In botany and mycology, an aqueous solution (typically 10% or less) of KOH is used to rehydrate dried herbarium material in preparation for microscopy.
In palynology, an aqueous solution of KOH is used to deflocculate soil particles aggregated onto pollen grains.

Medical therapeutics (human and veterinary)

wart and cuticle solvent.
(veterinary medicine) disbudding calves horns; dissolving scales and hair.

Food preparation
Food uses of KOH include:

Washing or chemical peeling of fruits and vegetables
Chocolate and cocoa processing
Caramel color production
Poultry scalding
Soft drink processing
Thickening ice cream
Soaking of olives to soften them and neutralize natural acids
Glazing of pretzels and German lye rolls before baking to make them crisp.
Soaking of cod to make the Scandinavian delicacy known as lutefisk (from lutfisk, “lye fish”). Cod is soaked in KOH to a jelly-like consistency, then served with bacon fat, potatoes, brown cheese (brunost) sauce and mushy peas.
Making of hominy, which is dried maize (corn) kernels reconstituted by soaking in KOH.

Manufacturing and commercial chemical processes
KOH is a major industrial chemical because it is used as a base in a wide variety of chemical processes. Some uses of KOH include:

Acrylate ester copolymer coating
Anti-foaming agent used in the manufacture of paper [12]
saponifying oils for liquid soap
Formulation aid for food[13]
pH control agent (raises pH by neutralizing acids)
Making polyethylene resins
Textile processing
As a catalyst in reactions like the production of biodiesel[14].
Manufacture of many cleaning products[15], such as:
Washing powders
Cleansers (for tubs, tile, etc)
Some denture cleaners
Non-phosphate detergents
Drain or pipe cleaners (clog dissolvers)
Widely used in carpet cleaning degreasers
Manufacture of alkaline batteries, which use an aqueous solution of KOH as an electrolyte[16]. Thus, potassium hydroxide helps to power flashlights, smoke detectors, and other battery-powered household items.
As an anisotropic etchant of silicon[17], exposing octahedral planes. This technique can create pyramids[18] and regularly-shaped etch pits for uses such as microelectromechanical systems.
An anisotropic etchant of GaAs[19], exposing Ga and As {111} planes. This technique can create rectangular etch pits by etching As (111) plane faster.

Taken from Wikipedia

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_Potassium_Hydroxide_used_for

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