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A perchlorate is the name for a chemical compound containing the perchlorate ion, ClO−
Perchlorates are colorless solids, soluble in water, though their solubility varies.
Organic perchlorate esters, are exotic compounds, highly unstable, without any commercial value.
Four perchlorates are of primary commercial interest:
- Perchloric acid (HClO4) - Precursor for all perchlorates
- Ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4) - Rocket propellant, explosive
- Potassium perchlorate (KClO4) - Oxidizer in pyrotechnic mixtures
- Sodium perchlorate (NaClO4) - Used to make insoluble perchlorates
Perchlorates are sold by chemical suppliers.
In many places, such as EU, the sale of perchlorates is restricted, due to their potential use in bombings. However, only sodium and potassium perchlorate are restricted in the EU, while perchloric acid and ammonium perchlorate are only restricted in individual countries.
Perchlorates can be prepared from chlorates via electrolysis in aq. solution.
Alternatively, heating chlorates above their decomposition temperature will yield chloride and perchlorate. Sodium perchlorate can be produced this way, and can be extracted from the product mixture by recrystallizing it from acetone, since NaClO4 is very soluble in acetone.
Perchlorates are very powerful oxidizers and should be handled with extreme care.
Perchlorates are moderately toxic, large amounts interfere with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland.