Potassium Bicarbonate as a Fire Extinguisher

Potassium bicarbonate (also known as potassium hydrogen carbonate or potassium acid carbonate) is a White Crystalline Powder, odourless, slightly basic, salty substance with a chemical formula of KHCO3. It is produced when carbon dioxide is passed through an aqueous solution of potassium carbonate

K2CO3 + CO2 + H2O → 2 KHCO3

Potassium bicarbonate (298-14-6) has a variety of applications such as, as a fire extinguisher, in pharmaceuticals, in agriculture or mineral water. The focus of this blog is however on its role as a fire extinguisher. Potassium Bicarbonate is used as a Dry chemical powder in fire extinguishing agent for Class B and Class C type fires. Unlike its sodium counterpart, Potassium bicarbonate has much more of industrial application due to its effectiveness in decomposing at higher temperatures (between 212 and 392 °F) – which is prevalent in chemical fires.  Once it decomposes, potassium bicarbonate breaks down to form carbon dioxide.

2 KHCO3 → K2CO3 + CO2 + H2O

Carbon dioxide is non-flammable and does not support combustion. Since it is heavier than air, CO2 has the ability to smother fire by covering it and preventing oxygen getting to it. Potassium bicarbonate is the main component of fire suppression agents such as Purple-K, Monnex and Super K due to its effectiveness in dealing with fires.

Chemical Properties:

CAS number: 298-14-6
Appearance: White Crystalline Powder
Odor: Odorless
Physical State: Solid (at room temperature)
Molecular Weight: 100.12
Melting point: Decomposes at 292ºC

Viral Alkalis Ltd is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of premium quality Potassium Bicarbonate (298-14-6) in India. We supply this product in 25 KG HDPE lined bags or as per customer requirement. Click here for inquiries.

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