Potassium | Properties | Uses | Facts - Elements and Compounds


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Potassium | Properties | Uses | Facts

Properties Uses and Facts about Potassium

    What is Potassium

    Potassium is classified as an alkali metal, and chemically it is an element. The symbol for potassium is (K), the atomic number is 19, and the atomic mass is 39.0983 amu. An atom of potassium has 19 electrons, 19 protons, 20 neutrons and 4 energy levels. Potassium is located in Group 1, Period 4 and Block (S) in the Periodic Table. The density of potassium is 0.862 grams per cubic centimeter. Potassium is found in solid state at normal temperature. Its melting point is 63.38 °C (146.08 °F) and its boiling point is 759 °C (1398 °F).

    Potassium was discovered by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1807.
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    Properties of Potassium

    • Potassium is a shiny metal of silver colour.
    • When exposed to air, potassium immediately forms a white-grey oxide layer.
    • Potassium is a soft metal, it is so soft that it can be easily cut with an ordinary knife.
    • Potassium is a very light metal, its density is 0.862 grams per cubic centimeter.
    • Potassium is a chemically very reactive element, so it is never found in nature in its pure state.
    • Pure potassium is a very good conductor of electricity.
    • When potassium comes in contact with water, there is a very rapid explosion, and the potassium starts burning. When potassium and water combine, hydrogen gas and a lot of heat are produced, due to which the hydrogen gas explodes.
    • When potassium burns, a light violet colored flame emerges.
    • Potassium can react with all acids and non-metals.

    Uses of Potassium

    • Potassium is most commonly used in fertilizer production in the form of potassium chloride (KCl).
    • Potassium chloride is also used in medicine and in saline drips.
    • Potassium hydroxide (KOH) is used in the production of liquid soaps and detergents.
    • Potassium is an essential element for life, potassium ions are found in all cells, they keep the fluid and electrolyte balance in the cells.
    • Potassium carbonate (K2CO3) is used in the production of glass.
    • Potassium carbonate (K2CO3) is used in fire extinguishers.
    • Potassium nitrate (KNO3) is used in making fertilizers and in matches and firecrackers.
    • Potassium is used in potassium ion batteries.
    • Potassium cyanide (KCN) is used in gold mining.

    Interesting facts about Potassium

    • Potassium is the eighth most abundant element on earth.
    • Potassium reacts very quickly with oxygen and moisture present in the air, so to store potassium, it is kept immersed in mineral oil.
    • Potassium is such a light metal that it can easily float on top of water.
    • A typical adult consumes about 5 grams of potassium per day. Apart from this, about 140 grams of potassium is present in the body of an adult person.
    • Adequate amounts of potassium are found in the normal diet. Whereas potassium is found in abundance in bananas, potatoes, oranges, raisins, dry fruits, coffee, chocolate, mushrooms, etc.
    • Potassium-40, an isotope of potassium, is radioactive in small amounts.

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