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Potassium chloride (KCl) is a common salt that has many uses in pyrotechnics. It is also used as a medical compound and an electrolytic solvent.
It has a high boiling point at room temperature, and it is highly soluble in water. The aqueous solution is a good conductor of electricity, and it is used as an antiseptic and an anesthetic. The crystal structure of KCl is ionic with potassium and chlorine ions bonded in a face-centered cubic lattice. Its lattice constant is roughly 6.3 angstroms. The crystals cleave readily in three directions. KCl is often used as a reference standard for the electrical conductivity of solutions. It is a popular choice for making a platinum sphere marker and as a sample for ionic conduction measurements.
In our differential thermal analysis (DTA) experiments at 1 bar, a ledge was observed upon heating and cooling, with the width of the ledge varying depending on the heating rate and sample size. The first derivative of the current-temperature relation peaked at 1070 + 2 K, indicating that the melting temperature is approximately 1070 K. The results from our Pt sphere experiments bracketed the melting point to 1042 + 2 K.
KCl is an ideal candidate as a pressure calibration standard at moderate temperatures, since it is water-soluble, soft, and electrically insulating in the solid state. Moreover, it is a highly refractory material at moderate pressures, comparable to graphite, MgO, and BN. However, experimental constraints on the KCl melting curve at moderate pressures are challenging to obtain with piston-cylinder apparatus due to the difficulty in designing and repeating ionic conduction experiments.