Q:

What is alum used for?

A:

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.

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

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is alum used for in food preparation?

    A:

    Alum is used in food preparation to maintain the firmness of pickles, raise the acidic level of some baking sodas and as a crispness preservative in some pickled vegetable and fruit recipes. It is also used to remove snail slime before cooking in Nigeria. During the 1800s, alum was used in England as a bread whitener until it was prohibited by the 1875 Sale of Food and Drugs Act.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is made from iron?

    A:

    Iron is used to make a number of residential and industrial products, including bicycles, buildings, skyscrapers, bridges, automobiles, heavy carriers and aircraft. Iron is a strong and durable substance; it has a high tolerance for heat and resists rust formation, and it is easy to mold into various shapes and forms.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • 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:

    What is the Eyring equation?

    A:

    The Eyring equation is used to calculate the rate of a chemical reaction at different temperatures. It is written as k = (k_b[t])/h) * e^(-delta.G/Rt).

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore