Potassium hydroxide (KOH) finds numerous major and common uses across various industries due to its strong alkaline properties. Some of the significant applications include:
- Chemical Processing: KOH is a potent base and is commonly used in various chemical processes, such as the production of biodiesel from vegetable oils, as well as in the manufacturing of potassium salts, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals.
- Soap and Detergent Industry: It is a key ingredient in soap-making, where it is used to saponify fats and oils, converting them into soap. Additionally, it is used in detergent formulations due to its ability to dissolve grease and oils.
- Cleaning Agents: Potassium hydroxide is utilized in various cleaning agents and household products, including oven cleaners, drain cleaners, and degreasers.
- Food Industry: In the food industry, KOH is used to remove skins from fruits and vegetables and to adjust the pH levels in some food products.
- Electrolyte in Batteries: Potassium hydroxide is used as an electrolyte in certain types of batteries, particularly alkaline batteries.
- Petroleum Industry: It is employed in the refining of petroleum and in the production of biodiesel.
- Pharmaceuticals: KOH is used in the pharmaceutical industry for various purposes, such as in the preparation of certain medications and as a pH adjuster in formulations.
- Textile Industry: In the textile industry, it is used for mercerizing cotton, which improves the fiber’s strength, luster, and dye uptake.
- Agriculture: Potassium hydroxide is sometimes used as a source of potassium in fertilizers to promote plant growth and improve crop yield.
- Water Treatment: It is utilized in water treatment processes to adjust pH levels and neutralize acidic water.