Potassium pearls under paraffin oil. The large pearl measures 0.5 cm. Below: spectral lines of potassium
|Name, symbol, number||potassium, K, 19|
|Element category||alkali metal|
|Group, period, block||1, 4, s|
|Standard atomic weight||39.0983(1) g·mol−1|
|Electron configuration||[Ar] 4s1|
|Electrons per shell||2, 8, 8, 1 (Image)|
|Density (near r.t.)||0.862 g·cm−3|
|Liquid density at m.p.||0.828 g·cm−3|
|Melting point||336.53 K, 63.38 °C, 146.08 °F|
|Boiling point||1032 K, 759 °C, 1398 °F|
|Triple point||336.35 K (63°C), kPa|
|Heat of fusion||2.33 kJ·mol−1|
|Heat of vaporization||76.9 kJ·mol−1|
|Specific heat capacity||(25 °C) 29.6 J·mol−1·K−1|
(strongly basic oxide)
|Electronegativity||0.82 (Pauling scale)|
||1st: 418.8 kJ·mol−1|
|2nd: 3052 kJ·mol−1|
|3rd: 4420 kJ·mol−1|
|Atomic radius||227 pm|
|Covalent radius||203±12 pm|
|Van der Waals radius||275 pm|
|Crystal structure||body-centered cubic|
|Electrical resistivity||(20 °C) 72 nΩ·m|
|Thermal conductivity||(300 K) 102.5 W·m−1·K−1|
|Thermal expansion||(25 °C) 83.3 µm·m−1·K−1|
|Speed of sound (thin rod)||(20 °C) 2000 m/s|
|Young's modulus||3.53 GPa|
|Shear modulus||1.3 GPa|
|Bulk modulus||3.1 GPa|
|Brinell hardness||0.363 MPa|
|CAS registry number||7440-09-7|
|Most stable isotopes|
|Main article: Isotopes of potassium|
Potassium is a chemical element in the periodic table. It has the symbol K. This symbol is taken from the Latin word kalium. Potassium's atomic number is 19. It has 19 protons and electrons. Potassium is not found as an element in nature, because it is so reactive.
Physical properties [change]
Potassium is a soft gray metal. It can be cut easily with a knife. Its melting point is 63 degrees celsius (145.4 degrees Fahrenheit). It melts at a very low temperature. It is an alkali metal. It is the second lightest metal, after lithium.
Chemical properties [change]
Potassium reacts in many chemical reactions similar to sodium and other alkali metals. It tarnishes in air to produce a whitish oxidized layer on the surface. This is why it is stored in oil. It also reacts very fast with water, which is another reason for its storage in oil. The hydrogen produced during its reaction with water can burst into flames when a large amount of potassium is added to water. Potassium hydroxide is also produced. Potassium also burns in air easily, to make the peroxide or the superoxide.
Chemical compounds [change]
Potassium compounds are only in one oxidation state: +1. Potassium ions are colorless and similar to sodium ions. Potassium chloride can be used as a substitute for table salt. Potassium hydroxide is used in the electrolyte of alkaline cells. Most potassium compounds are nontoxic. If they are toxic, it is because of the anion. Potassium chromate is colored because of the chromate, not the potassium. Potassium chromate is toxic because of the chromate, not the potassium.
The word potassium comes from the word "potash". Potash is a chemical that is a mixture of potassium carbonate and potassium hydroxide that has been used for a very long time. It is used to make fertilizer, soap, and glass.
Potassium does not occur in nature because it is too reactive. It is found in minerals, though. It is extracted from them by electrolysis of potassium hydroxide or potassium chloride. The potassium hydroxide or potassium chloride has to be melted at a very high temperature.
Use as element [change]
It is used to absorb water from solvents. It is also used in some scientific instruments.
Use as compounds [change]
Use by living organisms [change]
Potassium ions are very important to organisms. They send messages from cells to other cells. It helps biological membranes depolarize. This means go from a negative to a positive electrical charge. This is needed for muscles to contract (get shorter and move things.) It is needed for the heart to beat (push blood through blood vessels.) If the potassium level in the blood is too high or too low it can cause death because the heart stops. A few good sources of potassium are bananas, apricots and raisins.
Potassium metal is very dangerous and can form an explosive coating if it is kept in air. It also reacts violently with water, spewing corrosive liquid all over. Potassium compounds are not normally dangerous, unless they contain a toxic anion like chromate or chlorate.
Related pages [change]
- "Potassium". http://www.chemeddl.org/collections/ptl/PTL/elements/K/images/fig1.html. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
|The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for: potassium.|