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Potassium chloride, also known as potassium muriate or sylvite, is a colorless crystalline solid that melts at 776 degC (1420 OF). It is readily soluble in water and slightly soluble in alcohol. The chemical is used in fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and photography. It is also employed as an anti-fouling agent in ship hulls, as a de-icing product and for sanitizing certain types of medical equipment.
Its high melting point and large dependence of melting temperature on pressure make KCl a promising candidate for large volume press calibration in the high pressure region, even though it is not as refractory as many other materials currently used in high-temperature experiments. Furthermore, the KCl melting curve is well reproducible over multiple heating cycles. This feature, combined with the well-defined steepness of its current-temperature curve, may prove helpful for reducing uncertainties in pressure calibrations.
The multi-anvil experiments using radial wire placement produced results that place the lower bound of the melting temperature of KCl between 3 and 8 GPa (Table 2). Melting was located at the position of the steepest rate of current rise, and it occurred at press loads that drifted up because of thermal pressure.
KCl belongs to the alkali metal group, and its elemental form is a silvery-gray metallic substance that has the highest boiling point of all the alkali metals. It is a very reactive element and is never found by itself in nature, but rather it exists only as its compounds. In its ionic form, it is a white-to-colourless face-centred cubic crystal.