A brittle potassium alloy of silver-white colour and lamellar fracture is obtained by calcining 20 parts of bismuth with 16 of cream of tartar at a strong red heat.
Of the sodium silicates the most important is the mixture known as soluble soda glass formed by calcining a mixture of white sand, soda-ash and charcoal, or by dissolving silica in hot caustic soda under pressure.
A variety of animal charcoal is sometimes prepared by calcining fresh blood with potassium carbonate in large cylinders, the mass being purified by boiling out with dilute hydrochloric acid and subsequent reheating.
Potassium carbonate, K 2 CO 3, popularly known as "potashes," was originally obtained in countries where wood was cheap by lixiviating wood ashes in wooden tubs, evaporating the solution to dryness in iron pots and calcining the residue; in more recent practice the calcination is carried out in reverberatory furnaces.
It was obtained as a by-product in many chemical reactions, and subsequently used to be extracted from kainite, one of the Stassfurt minerals, but the process is now given up because the salt can be produced cheaply enough from the chloride by decomposing it with sulphuric acid and calcining the residue.