Potassium Carbonate by Polarized Light Microscopy


Potassium Carbonate has the chemical formula (K2CO3) and is a white salt which is soluble in water. It has been historically used for soap, glass and china production but also as a drying agent where other agents (e.g. Calcium Chloride) are incompatible. It is also used as a fire suppressant in extinguishing various deep fryers and class B fires.

Beyond the above, it is also commonly used as a buffering agent in wines or mead.


How it was done:

Potassium Carbonate has a fairly high melting point (891 Degrees C) as a result the melt method was not suitable for its crystallisation. Instead  potassium carbonate was placed into water and dissolved, this solution was then placed on a microscope slide and evaporated in an oven at around 80 degrees. Once the solution had evaporated the remaining Potassium Carbonate had recrystallized on the microscope slide and was ready for imaging.

The image was then captured using my normal polarized microscopy setup, which included;

Because the depth of field is relatively small, some images did require focus stacking which is where Helicon Remote & Focus came into the picture (pardon the pun).



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