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An alum is a type of chemical compound, usually a hydrated double sulfate salt of aluminium with the general formula XAl(SO4)2Â·12H2O, where X is a monovalent cation such as potassium or ammonium. By itself, "alum" often refers to potassium alum, with the formula KAl(SO4)2Â·12H
2O. Other alums are named after the monovalent ion, such as sodium alum and ammonium alum.