Potassium Nitrite in the Spotlight
Potassium nitrite (distinct from potassium nitrate) is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula KNO2. It is an ionic salt of potassium ions K+ and nitrite ions NO2–, which forms a white or slightly yellow, hygroscopic crystalline powder that is soluble in water.
It is a strong oxidizer and may accelerate the combustion of other materials. Like other nitrite salts such as sodium nitrite, potassium nitrite is toxic if swallowed, and laboratory tests suggest that it may be mutagenic or teratogenic. Gloves and safety glasses are usually used when handling potassium nitrite.
Potassium nitrite can be obtained by the reduction of potassium nitrate. The production of potassium nitrite by absorption of nitrogen oxides in potassium hydroxide or potassium carbonate is not employed on a large scaled because of the high price of these alkalies. Furthermore, the fact that potassium nitrite is highly soluble in water makes the solid difficult to recover.
Potassium nitrite is used in the manufacturing of , among others, heat transfer salts.