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Potassium Chlorate vs. Potassium Perchlorate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 2, 2023
Potassium chlorate (KClO3) is a compound with three oxygen atoms, while potassium perchlorate (KClO4) has four oxygen atoms and is more oxidizing.

Key Differences

Potassium chlorate, KClO3, contains one chlorine and three oxygen atoms. In contrast, potassium perchlorate, KClO4, has one extra oxygen atom.
The additional oxygen in potassium perchlorate makes it a stronger oxidizing agent than potassium chlorate.
Potassium chlorate is often used in safety matches and fireworks, while potassium perchlorate's higher stability makes it suitable for more sensitive applications.
In terms of chemical synthesis, potassium chlorate can be made by electrolysis of potassium chloride, whereas potassium perchlorate is often produced by further oxidizing potassium chlorate.
Both compounds are white, crystalline substances, but potassium perchlorate has a lower solubility in water compared to potassium chlorate.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula


Oxygen Content

Contains three oxygen atoms
Contains four oxygen atoms

Oxidizing Strength

Strong oxidizer
Stronger oxidizer

Common Uses

Safety matches, fireworks
Sensitive applications, rocket propellants

Solubility in Water

Relatively more soluble
Less soluble

Potassium Chlorate and Potassium Perchlorate Definitions

Potassium Chlorate

A chemical used in the laboratory as an oxidizing agent.
Potassium chlorate decomposes to release oxygen in certain reactions.

Potassium Perchlorate

A less water-soluble compound compared to potassium chlorate.
Potassium perchlorate's low solubility is a factor in its storage and handling.

Potassium Chlorate

A white crystalline substance used as an oxidizer.
In fireworks, potassium chlorate provides the oxygen needed for combustion.

Potassium Perchlorate

A chemical compound with the formula KClO4.
Potassium perchlorate is used as an oxidizer in rocket propellants.

Potassium Chlorate

A component in disinfectants and herbicides.
Potassium chlorate has applications in agriculture as a non-selective herbicide.

Potassium Perchlorate

A white crystalline substance with strong oxidizing properties.
In pyrotechnics, potassium perchlorate is preferred for its stability.

Potassium Chlorate

A chemical compound with the formula KClO3.
Potassium chlorate is used in the production of safety matches.

Potassium Perchlorate

A compound used in explosives, particularly where stability is crucial.
Potassium perchlorate's stability makes it suitable for controlled explosions.

Potassium Chlorate

A compound used in explosives and pyrotechnics.
Potassium chlorate can be combined with sulfur to create a potent mixture.

Potassium Perchlorate

A chemical that decomposes at high temperatures to release oxygen.
Potassium perchlorate is used in fireworks to sustain combustion at high temperatures.


Is potassium perchlorate used in rocket propellants?

Yes, due to its high oxidizing power and stability.

What is potassium chlorate?

A white crystalline chemical compound, KClO3, used as an oxidizer.

What are common uses of potassium chlorate?

It's used in safety matches, fireworks, and explosives.

Can potassium perchlorate be used in pyrotechnics?

Yes, especially where stability is important.

Can potassium chlorate be used in agriculture?

Yes, as a non-selective herbicide and disinfectant.

What's the solubility of potassium perchlorate in water?

It has lower solubility compared to potassium chlorate.

How does potassium perchlorate differ from potassium chlorate?

Potassium perchlorate, KClO4, has one more oxygen atom and is a stronger oxidizer.

What makes potassium perchlorate suitable for sensitive applications?

Its stability and strong oxidizing properties.

Is potassium chlorate soluble in water?

Yes, it's relatively soluble in water.

How is potassium chlorate produced?

Usually by electrolysis of potassium chloride.

What precautions are necessary when handling potassium perchlorate?

Proper storage, handling, and disposal due to its reactive nature.

Is potassium chlorate environmentally safe?

It can pose environmental risks if not managed correctly.

Is potassium perchlorate more expensive than potassium chlorate?

Generally, yes, due to its specific applications and properties.

Can potassium chlorate be used in disinfectants?

Yes, it's used in some disinfectant formulations.

What is the chemical stability of potassium perchlorate?

It's very stable under various conditions.

Do potassium chlorate and perchlorate have medical uses?

They are not typically used in medical applications.

Are there safety concerns with potassium chlorate?

Yes, it can be hazardous if not handled properly due to its oxidizing nature.

Can potassium chlorate be used in laboratory experiments?

Yes, as an oxidizing agent in various chemical reactions.

Are there alternatives to potassium chlorate in pyrotechnics?

Yes, other oxidizers can be used, depending on the desired effect.

How should potassium perchlorate be stored?

In a cool, dry place away from combustible materials.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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