What Is Potassium Hydride?


Quick Answer

Potassium hydride, with the molecular formula KH, is a direct combination of 2.51 percent hydrogen and 97.49 percent potassium. It is colorless and crystal-like in appearance, although some samples appear gray. It has a density of 1.43 g/cm^3 and a molar mass of 40.1062 g/mol.

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Full Answer

KH is a reactive, inorganic compound that reacts intensely with acids and explodes upon contact with oxidants such as oxygen. It is pyrophoric in air; therefore, it is commercially available as slurry in mineral oil for safe distribution.

Potassium hydride is a powerful base that is valuable in organic synthesis. It is a stronger base than sodium hydride and is used to deprotonate specific carbonyl compounds and amines to produce enolates and amides, respectively.

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