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A chlorate is chemical compound containing the ClO3− ion.
Chlorates are powerful oxidizers and should be kept away from organics or easily oxidized materials. Mixtures of chlorate salts with virtually any combustible material (sugar, sawdust, charcoal, organic solvents, metals, etc.) will readily deflagrate.
Mixtures of potassium chlorate and sulfur are very sensitive to friction, and are know to detonate when subjected to shock or friction.
Ammonium chlorate is highly unstable in both solution and solid, and has been known to spontaneously detonate at room temperature.
Sodium and potassium chlorates were available in the past as weedkiller, but due to their hazards they're been banned in many countries.
Chlorates can be prepared via electrolysis of a hot solution of chloride (~70 °C). Potassium chloride is the most commonly used starting material.
- 2 Cl− → Cl2 + 2 e−
- Cl2 + H2O ⇌ HClO + Cl− + H+
- 3 HClO → ClO3− + 2 Cl− + 3 H+
Platinum or lead dioxide coated electrodes are used for this procedure, as they can handle the extreme corrosion of the medium.
Another route involves adding chlorine to hot metal hydroxides like potassium hydroxide:
- 3 Cl2 + 6 KOH → 5 KCl + KClO3 + 3 H2O
Chlorates are powerful oxdizers. Keep them away from open flames and flammable materials.
Chlorates are toxic if ingested.