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Potassium Chromate vs. Potassium Dichromate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 25, 2023
Potassium chromate (K2CrO4) is a yellow compound, less oxidizing, whereas potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7) is a red-orange compound, more oxidizing.

Key Differences

Potassium chromate consists of potassium ions and chromate ions (CrO4)2-, forming a yellow compound. Potassium dichromate contains potassium ions and dichromate ions (Cr2O7)2-, resulting in a red-orange compound.
Potassium chromate acts as a milder oxidizer compared to potassium dichromate. The latter, with its additional chromium atom in each molecule, exhibits stronger oxidizing capabilities.
Both compounds are toxic, but potassium dichromate is more hazardous due to its strong oxidizing nature. It poses greater risks to the environment and health.
Potassium chromate is used in tanning and dyeing industries, while potassium dichromate finds application in leather tanning, wood staining, and as a cleaning agent in laboratories.
Besides their distinct colors, potassium chromate is more soluble in water than potassium dichromate, affecting their respective uses and handling in various applications.

Comparison Chart





Oxidizing Strength

Less Oxidizing
More Oxidizing

Solubility in Water

More Soluble
Less Soluble

Environmental Impact

Less Hazardous
More Hazardous

Potassium Chromate and Potassium Dichromate Definitions

Potassium Chromate

A yellow compound used as an indicator in titration.
In acid-base titrations, potassium chromate changes color at the endpoint.

Potassium Dichromate

A material in the manufacturing of pigments.
Potassium dichromate is involved in producing certain orange pigments.

Potassium Chromate

A laboratory reagent in analytical chemistry.
Potassium chromate is employed in the qualitative analysis of metal ions.

Potassium Dichromate

A cleaning agent for laboratory glassware.
Lab equipment is often cleaned with a potassium dichromate solution.

Potassium Chromate

A corrosion inhibitor in coolants.
Adding potassium chromate in cooling systems prevents rusting.

Potassium Dichromate

A potent oxidizing agent in chemical reactions.
Potassium dichromate is used to oxidize alcohols to carboxylic acids.

Potassium Chromate

An oxidizing agent in organic synthesis.
Potassium chromate can oxidize alcohols to ketones.

Potassium Dichromate

A compound used in leather tanning.
The leather industry uses potassium dichromate for chrome tanning.

Potassium Chromate

A chemical used in the dyeing industry.
Potassium chromate is often utilized for imparting color to fabrics.

Potassium Dichromate

A primary standard in volumetric analysis.
Potassium dichromate serves as a standard for calibrating titration solutions.


Is potassium chromate naturally occurring?

No, potassium chromate is synthetically produced.

What is the primary use of potassium chromate?

It is mainly used as an indicator in titrations and in dyeing.

How is potassium dichromate handled safely?

It should be handled with gloves and protective gear due to its toxicity.

Can potassium dichromate be used in food?

No, it is toxic and not suitable for food use.

What precautions are needed when working with potassium dichromate?

Avoid inhalation, skin contact, and ensure proper ventilation.

Are both compounds environmentally hazardous?

Yes, but potassium dichromate is more hazardous.

Can potassium dichromate be reduced easily?

Yes, it is a strong oxidizing agent and can be reduced.

Is potassium chromate soluble in water?

Yes, it is highly soluble in water.

Is potassium chromate a carcinogen?

Yes, it is classified as a carcinogen.

How is potassium dichromate disposed of?

It must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Are there any medical uses for potassium chromate?

No, due to its toxicity, it's not used in medicine.

What industries use potassium dichromate?

It's used in tanning, pigment production, and as a cleaning agent.

Can potassium chromate be used as a pesticide?

No, it's not suitable or approved as a pesticide.

Can potassium dichromate be used in batteries?

No, it's not suitable for use in batteries.

Can potassium chromate be used in photography?

It is not commonly used in modern photography.

What are the health risks of potassium dichromate?

It can cause respiratory issues, skin irritation, and is carcinogenic.

How stable is potassium dichromate?

It is stable under normal conditions but reactive as an oxidizer.

Does potassium chromate have any use in metallurgy?

It is used as a corrosion inhibitor.

Is potassium chromate used in water treatment?

It's not commonly used in water treatment due to toxicity.

Are there safer alternatives to these compounds?

Yes, there are less toxic alternatives for most of their uses.
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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