Potassium chlorate from bleach

Potassium chlorate crystals are obtained from regular bleach

Scientific name: Obtaining potassium chlorate from bleach using potassium chloride

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Safety

Wear lab gloves and eye protection.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

3NaClO → 2NaCl + NaClO3

NaClO3 + KCl → KClO3 + NaCl

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Pour about 500 ml of bleach into a thermo resistant beaker and boil it on a hotplate to get rid of most of the water.
  2. When crystals start to appear in the solution, cool it down. These are sodium chloride crystals.
  3. Filter the solution. The Remaining solution contains sodium chlorate and the remainder of sodium chloride.
  4. Prepare a saturated solution of potassium chloride. The Volume of this solution should be equal to the boiled bleach solution.
  5. Mix together the two solutions. Potassium chlorate crystals should precipitate in the solution.
  6. If there are no crystals in the solution cool it down in a fridge.

Scientific background

Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite (NaClO). It decomposes under heating forming sodium chloride and sodium chlorate. This is a disproportionation reaction.

Sodium chlorate is more soluble in water than sodium chloride, and sodium chloride precipitates when the solution is cooled down.

After adding potassium chloride to the solution potassium chlorate is formed and precipitates. To test the obtained potassium chlorate mix it with half its weight of sugar and add a drop of concentrated sulfuric acid. An explosion with lilac flame and a lot of smoke should occur.

Danger:
Coolness:
Difficulty:

Published on 14 September 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst