Q:

What is alum used for?

A:

Quick Answer

Alum is a class of chemical compounds containing sulphuric acid or selenate alumina, an alkali and water. They are used industrially as dying agents, as well as food preservatives and flame retardants, and to purify water, staunch bleeding and enhance immune response in some vaccines. They are also used as an ingredient in toothpaste and in artist's clays as a firming agent.

Know More

Full Answer

The main kinds of alum are potassium (or potash) alum, soda alum, ammonia alum and chrome alum, all of which contain sulphur, and the selenate alums, which contain selenium instead of sulphur. The selenate alums are used as antiseptics because they are strong oxidizing agents.

The sulphur-based alums are the most widely used, especially potassium alum. Potassium alum is used throughout the food industry in baking powder and as a preservative, especially in pickle brine. It is also used in the textile and leather industry for tanning and dying fabric.

Soda alum is also used in the food industry as a constituent of baking powder and as an acidulent.

Ammonia alum is used in the food industry for many of the same purposes as the two above, as well as being used as a flame retardant and in the manufacture of glue. Ammonia and potash alum are both used to filter water. They are also both used as deodorant crystals.

Chrome alum is not as common as the three other sulphur-based alums, but it is used in the leather industry for tanning skins.

Learn more about Atoms & Molecules

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the uses of radium?

    A:

    Radium is used as a source of radiation for treating certain malignant growths such as cancer. It is also used to examine flaws in materials through acquiring images similar to those obtained using X-rays.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Who discovered silver?

    A:

    Silver has been used since antiquity and cannot be said to have been discovered by any one person. In areas where humans have never collected it, silver can occur as nuggets lying on the surface of the ground.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is Fe2(SO3)3?

    A:

    The chemical formula Fe2(SO3)3 is used to represent the compound iron(III) sulfite, which is also known as ferrous sulfite. The compound contains two atoms of iron, three atoms of sulfur and nine atoms of oxygen.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the uses of titanium?

    A:

    Titanium is used in a large variety of sports equipment, medical devices, military aircraft, paints, inks, papers, plastics, food products and artistic and architectural structures. Titanium was used as part of the 2008 restoration of the structural repair and stabilization of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore