Potassium ethoxide


Potassium ethoxide, also known as potassium ethanolate, is an off-white or yellow powder with the chemical formula of C2H5KO. Potassium ethoxide contains an ethoxide ion, the conjugate base of ethanol, which makes this compounds strongly basic. It hydrolyzes to yield ethanol and potassium hydroxide.

Potassium ethoxide
Potassium ethoxide.svg
Preferred IUPAC name
Potassium ethoxide
Other names
Potassium ethylate
  • 917-58-8
3D model (JSmol)
  • Interactive image
  • 63375
ECHA InfoCard 100.011.845 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 213-029-0
  • 23670592
  • DTXSID10890530 Edit this at Wikidata
  • InChI=1S/C2H5O.K/c1-2-3;/h2H2,1H3;/q-1;+1
  • InChI=1/C2H5O.K/c1-2-3;/h2H2,1H3;/q-1;+1
  • CC[O-].[K+]
Molar mass 84.159 g·mol−1
Appearance Yellow or Off-White Powder[1]
Density 0.894 g/mL [2]
Melting point 250 °C (482 °F; 523 K)
GHS labelling:
GHS02: FlammableGHS05: Corrosive
H251, H314
P235+P410, P260, P264, P280, P301+P330+P331, P303+P361+P353, P304+P340, P305+P351+P338, P310, P321, P363, P405, P407, P413, P420, P501
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references


Potassium ethoxide is used as a strong base, similar to sodium and potassium methoxides, and potassium tert-butoxide. Catalytic amounts of potassium ethoxide in ethanol can be used to perform transesterification reactions that yield ethyl esters. Sodium or potassium ethoxide is also a suitable base for the malonic ester synthesis where diethyl malonate is used, since any transesterification reaction does not result in ester scrambling.


Potassium ethoxide is stable, but also both flammable and corrosive. The compound reacts vigorously with water. If the compound comes into contact with damp air, it may lead to the heating and ignition of the solid powder. It must be kept separated from air, moisture, water, acids, oxidizing agents, and reducing agents.[3] It can also cause severe skin burns.[4]


  1. ^ [1], n.pag. World Of Chemicals. Web. 19 Oct 2012. <http://www.worldofchemicals.com/wochem/pub/chempotassium-ethoxide.html>.
  2. ^ CID 23670592 from PubChem
  3. ^ [2], n.pag. CasLAb. Web. 19 Oct 2012. <http://www.caslab.com/Potassium_ethoxide_CAS_917-58-8/>.
  4. ^ [3], n.pag. chemexper. Web. 19 Oct 2012. <http://www.chemexper.com/chemicals/supplier/cas/917-58-8.html>.