Properties[change | change source]
It is a bright red crystalline solid. It is a strong oxidizing agent in acidic conditions. It is poisonous because it contains dichromate, which is carcinogenic. It can be destroyed by reaction with reducing agents. It can be reduced to green chromium(III) compounds such as chromium(III) oxide.
Preparation[change | change source]
Potassium dichromate can be made by oxidation of potassium hydroxide and chromium(III) oxide. It can also be made by adding an acid to potassium chromate.
Occurrence[change | change source]
It is very rarely found in the earth. It is only found in very dry areas. If it rains, it dissolves in the water and is washed away.
Uses[change | change source]
It is used as a reagent for many chemicals, such as alcohol. Some breath alcohol testers use this, and the red turns to green when there is alcohol in the breath. It can be used to make chromic acid, which is used to clean glass. It can be used in cement. It is used to tan leather. It can be used in photography and to test for certain metals. It can be used to treat wood.
Safety[change | change source]
Potassium dichromate is very irritating. It can cause cancer when the dust is inhaled. It is a strong oxidizing agent and can start fires. It can be reacted with iron(II) sulfate to detoxify (remove the toxicity of) it.