The History of Potassium What does potassium mean? Potassium comes from the English word potash (meaning pot ashes). The symbol for potassium on the periodic table (K) came from the Latin word kalium which means alkali.
The History of Potassium (cont.) Who discovered potassium? In England during the year 1807, Sir Humphrey Davy isolated potassium through electrolysis with caustic potash. He, later on, did the same thing with sodium and a few other elements.
Properties of Potassium Potassium is a soft silver metal that can easily be cut with a knife. It is solid at room temperature. The boiling point of potassium is 759°C or 1398°F. The melting point of potassium is 63.38°C or 146.08°F. Potassium is one of the least dense metals on the periodic table. It has a density of 0.86 g/cc.
Properties (cont.) Potassium has only 3 stable isotopes. K-40 is a radioactive isotope that is considered stable and is used to study the impact of potassium in plants and in the cardiovascular system in humans. K-39and K-41 are considered the only two stable nonradioactive isotopes.
Availability of Potassium Potassium makes up 2.4% of the earth’s crust. It is found in rocks, minerals, lakes, and seas. Potassiumis obtained by electrolysis of hydroxide or chloride. Metallic potassium costs about $40 a pound.
Uses of Potassium Potassium can’t really be used freely because it oxidizes quickly with air which is why is it commonly stored in a mineral oil, such as kerosene. It is a highly reactive element, so reactive that it catches on fire when exposed to water.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byrQIsmY2A8&feature=channel_video_title
Uses (cont.) Potassium is used most commonly in a compound form. Potassium chloride is used in fertilizers for plants. Potassium hydroxide is used to make many soaps and drain cleaners. Potassium can also be used to make glass when it forms the compound potassium carbonate.
Uses (cont.) Potassium is also very important for our bodies to function as well. Some of us have over 100g of potassium in our body right now.