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Name used for various inorganic compounds of potassium, chiefly the carbonate (KCO), a white crystalline material formerly obtained from wood ashes. They are used to make special types of glass, potassium silicate (a dehydrating agent), pigments, printing inks, and soft soaps; for washing raw wool; and as a lab reagent and general-purpose food additive. Potassium hydroxide is frequently called caustic potash, and in the fertilizer industry, potassium oxide is called potash.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on potash, visit Britannica.com.