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From: Gérard
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998

Does any one know the physical difference between natural
carbonate of potassium extracted from the vegetal kingdom and
'industrial' carbonate of potassium.
Also what would be the physical difference between, say, fern
salt and a tree salt.

Thanks

Gerard


From: Corey Brand
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998

Gerard,

Industrial potassium carbonate is probably extracted from oak ash. I
am not aware of any physical difference, though I have heard some
argue that the compounds may have different bond-angles of their
atoms, depending on how the compound was produced. I do not know if
this is true.

The difference between fern salt and tree salt, or any other plant
salt for that matter, would be the contents. The contents will
depend on the type of plant and where it was grown. Sea weed salt
will be high in sodium carbonate because of its proximity with the
sea. Other plants will have varying ratios of potassium and sodium
carbonates, silicates, etc.

Corey


Date: Fri, 29 May 1998
From: Jerome E. Tamul
Gérard wrote:

> Does any one know the physical difference between natural
> carbonate of potassium extracted from the vegetal kingdom and
> 'industrial' carbonate of potassium.


To partially answer this question, reference is made to two articles
which appeared in The Chemical News.
The first, POTASSIUM: ITS RADIOACTIVITY: ITS ISOTOPES: AND ITS
ASSOCIATION WITH THE PHENOMENA OF LIFE, F.H. Loring and J.G.F. Druce,
January 17, 1930, pg. 34-36; the summary of this investigation was
to determine the radioactivity of the potassium carbonate as extracted
from calcined potato stalks vs. mineral potassium carbonate in hopes
to find a reason for the basis of life. This conclusion drawn from the
experiments was that potassium carbonate derived from most vegetable
matter was more radioactive than its mineral counterpart. Atomic weight
determinations were conducted and the conclusion drawn was that
potassium 41 was in greater concentration. (?)
The second article, THE ISOTOPES OF POTASSIUM: THEIR ASSSOCIATION WITH
PLANT LIFE, J.G.F. DRUCE, January 16, 1931, pg. 33-36; was a follow up
to previous research with atomic weight and half-life determinations.
The conclusions reached were the same, that potassium 41 was in greater
abundance in plant material vs. potassium extracted from mineral
sources.
The conclusions of both articles was that the potassium extracted
from plants had a higher average atomic weight, and was radioactive
with beta emmission. This was attributed to the isotope of potassium
with mass 41. However, potassium 41 is not radioactive. The only
naturally occuring radioactive isotope is potassium 40. So what did
these researchers find?

Jerome


Date: Sat, 30 May 1998
From: Jerome E. Tamul

Corey Brand wrote:

> Industrial potassium carbonate is probably extracted from oak ash.

Most commmercial potassium carbonate is prepared from potassium
chloride and sulfate utilizing the Leblanc process, and by several
other methods. Potassium chloride, which is often found as the double
salt with magnesium chloride, can be found in ancient salt beds.
The same applies to potassium sulfate. In some sea salt beds, the
amount of potassium chloride can be as high as 95%.
Potassium carbonate has also been prepared from the calcination of
the residues from the alcoholic fermentation of beet molasses. Some has
been extracted from greasy wool and some extracted from felspathic
rocks.
Very little if any potassium carbonate has been made from wood ashes
since the mid 1800's.

Jerome