Potassium Chloride is odorless in its pure state. It occurs as a white to colorless vitreous crystal with a face-centered cubic crystal structure that easily fractures in three directions.
Potassium chloride is used in medicine, scientific applications, food processing, and in legal enforcement by means of lethal injection.
It occurs naturally as the mineral sylvite and in combination with sodium chloride as sylvinite. It is an inorganic compound.
Potassium chloride can react as a source of chloride ion. Like any other soluble ionic chloride, it precipitates insoluble chlorides when added to a solution of a suitable metal salt such as silver nitrate:
KCl(ac) + AgNO3(ac) → AgCl(s) + KNO3(ac).
Although potassium is more electropositive than sodium, KCl can be reduced to metal through a reaction with metallic sodium if potassium is removed by distillation, due to the Le Châtelier Principle. Este es el main method for producing metallic potassium. Electrolysis (used for sodium) fails due to the high solubility of potassium in liquid KCl.
Most of the potassium chloride produced is used in the manufacture of fertilizer, since the growth of many plants is limited by the consumption of potassium. As a chemical reagent it is used in the manufacture of potassium hydroxide and metallic potassium.
It is used in significant quantities as a flux, together with sodium chloride, for the recovery of aluminum from the rotary kiln smelting of this metal's waste and slag / foam.
It is also used in medicine, in cases of diarrhea, vomiting and in the post-surgical of the digestive system, in scientific applications, food processing and in judicial executions through lethal injection.