Potassium sulfate

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Infobox on Potassium sulfate
Example of Potassium sulfate
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) 0,90 m3/t (bulk)
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation No special requirements
Risk factors See text

Potassium sulfate

Description / Application

Potassium sulfate (K2SO4) (in British English potassium sulphate, also called sulphate of potash, arcanite, or archaically known as potash of sulfur) is a non-flammable white crystalline salt which is soluble in water; insoluble in alcohol. The chemical is commonly used in fertilisers, providing both potassium and sulphur.
Properties: colourless or white, hard crystals or powder; bitter saline taste.

The principal use of potassium sulfate is as a fertiliser. K2SO4 does not contain chloride, which can be harmful to some crops. Potassium sulfate is preferred for these crops, which include tobacco and some fruits and vegetables. Crops that are less sensitive may still require potassium sulfate for optimal growth if the soil accumulates chloride from irrigation water.

The crude salt is also used occasionally in the manufacture of glass. Potassium sulfate is also used as a flash reducer in artillery propellant charges. It reduces muzzle flash, flareback and blast overpressure.

Derivation: a) by treatment of potassium chloride either with sulphuric acid or with sulphur dioxide, air, and water; b) by fractional crystallization of a natural sulphate ore; c) from salt lake brines.

Grade: highest purity medicinal, commercial, crude, CP, agricultural, reagent, technical.

Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Sulfate of potash is hygroscopic but also liable to loss in weight. Sometimes contains common salt and may harden during the voyage, giving rise to difficulty and extra cost in discharge.

The cargo is non-combustible or has a low fire-risk.

For overseas carriage consult the IMSBC Code (International Maritime Solid Bulk Code) as published by IMO (International Maritime Organization); the IMDG Code and applicable MSDS sheet.

See also Fertilizer