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Potassium hydride
CAS number 7693-26-7 Yes check.svgY
PubChem 82127
EC number 232-151-5
Molecular formula KH
Molar mass 40.1062 g/mol
Appearance colourless crystals
Density 1.47 g/cm3
Boiling point

316 °C

Crystal structure cubic, cF8
Space group Fm3m, No. 225
Related compounds
Other cations Lithium hydride
Sodium hydride
Rubidium hydride
Caesium hydride
 Yes check.svgY (what is this?)  (verify)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Potassium hydride, KH, is a chemical compound of potassium and hydrogen. It is a hydride of potassium. It reacts with water according to the reaction:

KH + H2O → KOH + H2

The reaction is so vigorous that often the hydrogen gas produced will, due to the heat of the reaction, ignite with the oxygen in the air, producing a lilac flame from the presence of potassium ions in the hydrogen fire. Potassium hydride is also pyrophoric, and requires careful handling. For this reason it is sold commercially as a slurry in mineral oil. In one study the compound is dispersed in paraffin to allow for better dispensing [1]

Potassium hydride can be formed by direct combination of the metal and hydrogen. This reaction was discovered by Humphry Davy soon after his 1807 discovery of potassium, when he noted that the metal would vaporize in a current of hydrogen when heated just below its boiling point.[2]:p.25

Potassium hydride is a powerful base (more reactive than sodium hydride), which can be used to deprotonate organic molecules. Potassium hydride is also very thermally conductive[citation needed].

See also


  1. ^ Potassium Hydride in Paraffin: A Useful Base for Organic Synthesis Douglass F. Taber and Christopher G. Nelson J. Org. Chem.; 2006; 71(23) pp 8973 - 8974; (Note) doi:10.1021/jo061420v
  2. ^ Humphry Davy (1808), The Bakerian Lecture on some new phenomena of chemical changes produced by electricity, particularly the decomposition of fixed alkalies, and the exhibition of the new substances which constitute their bases; and on the general nature of alkaline bodies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, volume 88, pages 1–44. In The Development of Chemistry, 1789-1914: Selected essays, edited by D. Knight, pages 17–47.


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