Potassium Thiocyanate


The molecular formula of potassium thiocyanate is KSCN and it is a chemical compound. It is one of the pseudohalides and is an important salt of the thiocyanate anion. It is an inorganic salt and has a very low melting point as compared with other inorganic salts. It contains potassium, nitrogen atoms, sulfur, and carbon. Sulfur and potassium cyanide is fused together to form potassium thiocyanate after extraction with hot aqueous alcohol, cooling and evaporating. KSCN is a colourless chemical and has transparent prismatic crystals that are highly hygroscopic. The chemical has a cooling and saline taste and it is odourless. Some of the other names of potassium thiocyanate are potassium rhodanide and potassium rhodanate.  

About Potassium Thiocyanate

Potassium Thiocyanate is basically an inorganic potassium salt. The said chemical formula of the particular compound is KSCN. The density of Thiocyanate is 1.89 grams per cubic centimeter. It appears between colorless to white colored crystals or as a crystalline powder. Its molecular weight is 97.181 grams per molecule. Potassium thiocyanate has a very high boiling point i.e. 500 degrees Celsius. Comparatively, its melting point is very low, it is only 173 degrees Celsius. However, the chemical is not soluble in water. 

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Physical Properties of Potassium Thiocyanate

This chemical is odourless as well as colourless chemical. As per experts, you can find its appearance to be similar to deliquescent crystals. Its heat capacity is 298.15 KJ/mol.K and its solubility is 177 g/100ml in water.

Chemical Properties of Potassium Thiocyanate

Potassium thiocyanate is a highly reactive chemical. It reacts quickly with metals to form a thiocyanate of it. For example, when iron nitrate and potassium thiocyanate react in the presence of water, the reaction produces iron thiocyanate, potassium oxide and nitric acid. Let's take another example when iron chloride and potassium thiocyanate reacts it forms iron thiocyanate and potassium chloride. The chemical reaction for both the examples are given hereunder:

3H2O + 2Fe(NO3)3+ 6KSCN → 2Fe(SCN)3+ 3K2O + 6HNO3

FeCl3 + 3KSCN → Fe(SCN)3 + 3KCl

Health Hazard Data of the Chemical

Potassium thiocyanate is a chemical that is skin and eye irritant and is highly toxic when ingested in a body. Direct eye contact will cause redness and a lot of pain. And direct skin contact will cause irritation in the local areas. Ingestion in the body will cause headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting,  and faintness.

Different Treatments for Thiocyanate Infections

Skin: It is advisable to immediately remove all the contaminated clothes you are wearing and then wash the affected area with the help of soap or mild detergent. Also, Do not ever forget to make use of large amounts of water to wash the affected area until all of the chemicals have been removed. Kindly wash the affected area for approximately 15 minutes to be safe. Wash contaminated clothing before you start using it again.

Eyes: If the eyes get infected, make sure that you­ immediately wash your eyes properly. Use a large quantity of water to wash the eyes until all evidence of the chemical has been removed. Wash for approximately 15 minutes. However, if the irritation or pain still continues, do seek immediate medical attention.

Inhalation: ­ leave the room and rush for fresh air. If the breathing process has been hindered, make use of an artificial respiration device. Make efforts to keep the body warm and take ample rest. However, if irritation still persists or develops, go to a doctor immediately.

Body Ingestion: ­ Wash your mouth thoroughly with water and drink as much water as you can. Again, seek immediate medical attention.

Uses of Potassium Thiocyanate

Potassium Thiocyanate has immense uses in diverse industries, such as textile, fibre, agriculture, metal, steel, as well as in construction. In most of the cases, the said chemical can be used as an analytical reagent. Also, many industries make use of the chemical in the process of synthesis of antibiotics as well as major pharmaceutical products. In addition, thiocyanate can be used for electroplating of different metals as well as surfaces. 

Here are the Diverse Uses of Potassium Thiocyanate:

  • As a reagent in the analytical chemistry;

  • As a corrosion inhibitor in the field of water treatment industry;

  • As a perfect intermediate in the pesticide manufacturing;

  • Used as a stabilizer as well as a sensitizer in the photographic field;

  • Also used in the metallurgy industry for the extraction of rare elements, such as thorium, hafnium, zirconium, etc.

  • Thiocyanate can be used for the synthesis of different pharmaceutical products, 

  • You can paint KSCN on a surface to keep it colourless.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Does Potassium Thiocyanate Come Under Toxic Substances?

Yes, Potassium Thiocyanate is toxic when you consume it. Moreover, the chemical can cause irritations in the eye as well as skin. When it comes in contact with your eyes, it causes redness as well as pain. Moreover, skin contact can cause localized irritation. However, when you consume it, the said chemical can cause headaches, dizziness, faintness, vomiting, etc. Thus, it is advisable to keep it out of reach of young kids and make sure that you use it with precautions. Also, seek immediate medical attention if by chance you consume it.

2. What is the Method to Prepare the Potassium Thiocyanate Solution?

You can prepare the said solution by mixing together 46 grams of anhydrous potassium ferrocyanide along with 17 grams of potassium carbonate, as well as 32 grams of sulphur. You need to then transfer this said mixture into an iron pan. Now, fuse over a flame and you will get a residue during the process. You can remove the half-cooled residue and then you need to crush it as well as boil it along with ethyl alcohol. When cooled, the part of potassium thiocyanate will get separated in the form of colourless crystals.