What is Potassium Sulfate? - Structure, Uses & Formula

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  • 0:03 Potassium Sulfate
  • 0:37 Names, Structure & Formula
  • 1:40 Uses of Potassium Sulfate
  • 2:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

What does a fertilizer and a muzzle flash have in common? You'll find out in this lesson as you learn about the structure, formula, and various uses of potassium sulfate.

Potassium Sulfate

Many of us take pills or other supplements to help us get important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and proteins. We need these compounds to help us grow, repair damaged tissue, or simply function in the first place. All living things are like that. This means plants also need to take their vitamins, so to speak, and some of the nutrients plants need include potassium and sulfur.

Thankfully, they can get both from an inorganic chemical compound called potassium sulfate. You're about to learn a bit about it in this lesson.

Names, Structure, & Formula

Potassium sulfate goes by other names, such as:

  • Dipotassium sulfate
  • Sulfate of Potash
  • Potassium sulphate

Its molecular formula is written as either:

  • K2 SO4
  • K2 O4 S

In these formulas, the 'K' stands for potassium, the 'S' stands for sulfur, and the 'O' stands for oxygen. Visually, potassium sulfate can be represented via a 2D structure:

The 2D structure of potassium sulfate

That being said, potassium sulfate would look radically different in real life. Potassium sulfate actually appears as a colorless or white powder or as colorless or white crystals. If you were to take a really close look at the crystals, they'd have a rhombic or hexagonal shape to them. If you decided to smell this compound you'd find that it doesn't really have a smell; and if you were to actually bite into it, you wouldn't like the experience and would probably regret it immediately. Potassium sulfate is hard, salty, and bitter.

A piece of pure potassium sulfate that you probably should not bite into
A piece of potassium sulfate

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