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What is the chemical reaction and chemical breakdown of the potassium nitrate if heated?

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On heating potassium nitrate, it melts and decomposes to potassium nitrite, an inorganic compound and oxygen gas. This is a chemical change that gives a pale yellow residue. The temperature required to melt is in between 550 to 790o C.

2KNO  2KNO2 + O2

Potassium nitrate used near fire hazards in a storage form.

Also, potassium nitrate can be oxidized to potassium nitrite with the help of nitrifying bacteria (nitrobacter) and the process is also known as Nitrosomas.

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