Perchlorates are salts derived from perchloric acid and appears as white crystalline solid. Perchlorates are both naturally occurring and manufactured. Although they do not typically explode or catch fire, most mixtures of perchlorates with organic compounds are reactive. Potassium perchlorate is also a powerful oxidizing agent. It is due to its explosive which makes it widely used within the pyrotechnics industry as a propellant / fireworks.
Potassium Perchlorate is commercially prepared by combining Sodium Perchlorate solution with Potassium Chloride using electrochemical synthesis. In an electrochemical cell, Chlorine (from the anode) dissolves in water to make an equilibrium solution of hypochlorous acid hydrochloric acid. At the cathode, Hydrogen is converted to Potassium Hydroxide, which then reacts with the dissolved Chlorine to form Potassium Chloride and Potassium Hydroxide. Now, Sodium Perchlorate is added and thus reacts with Potassium Chloride to give Potassium Perchlorate due to an oxidation reaction of the raw material mixture at the anode side. These Potassium Perchlorate crystals are separated washed and sent for further processing.
Potassium perchlorate is widely used as a disinfectant due to its ability to sterilize and destroy microbic life.
Potassium perchlorate is a potent oxidizing agent that spontaneously reacts with many naturally occurring substances.
It is used as an anti-thyroid agent for the treatment of hyperthyroidism.
Due to its very strong oxidizing ability, it is used in fireworks, safe matches, explosives, and also as a component in rocket propellant. It usage in rocket propellant arises due to its high and fast combustion rate which does not leave any ash or residue behind, and its high calorific value.
Potassium perchlorate is used to make protective breathing equipment used in fighter aircrafts in the event of any depressurization. Other uses include additives for rubber manufacturing, in finishing leather and tanning, in aluminium refining.