Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The discovery of this alkali metal was made by Humphrey Davis. He isolated potassium by using electrolysis on potash. The name came from potash and the symbol K is derived from the Latin word kalium, meaning alkali. A  silvery-white metal in its pure form, potassium is the second least dense metal. It belongs to group one on the periodic table of elements. It is an extremely soft metal that can easily be cut with a knife. If it is freshly cut, it appears silver, but it begins to tarnish gray after being exposed to air. Potassium emits a lilac color with an emission wavelength of 766.5 nm. It is extremely reactive with oxygen and water. It usually catches fire during a reaction with water. Because of its low first ionization energy, potassium reacts readily with halogens to from potassium halides. Potassium is essential to all life! It is vital to humans in the importance of: helping the heart beat, keeping acid and fluid pressures normal, allowing kidneys to filter blood, and allowing muscles to move. Potassium is found in all body cells. Its cations are important in neuron functions. If a person has a potassium deficiency it can lead to heart problems and hypokalemia. Teenagers and adults should intake around 4,700 mg of potassium daily. In the adult body contains nearly 120 grams of potassium. Symptoms that you need more potassium in your diet include: confusion, irritability, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Bananas, potatoes, raisins, kiwi, oranges, beef, salmon, and almonds are a few examples of potassium rich foods. Many diets that are high in potassium are shown to lower cholesterol . Potassium salts contain no further roles in reactions and therefore are considered stable. This metal can be found in the sea, volcanic rocks, and potash. However, potassium is not found free in nature. It makes up nearly three percent of the earth’s crust! Potassium has no odor and is the eight most common element. It is normally stored under argon or mineral oil because of its activity.  There are 24 known isotopes of potassium. The metal is formed in the universe by nucleosynthesis and the stable form is created in supernovas via the explosive oxygen-burning process. Potassium compounds are highly ionic and most of them are soluble in water. Potassium can be used as a replacement of salt for people with high cholesterol. Because potassium is an electrolyte, it can successfully counterbalance a diet rich in sodium. Potassium and sodium are closely related and before the 19th century they were even thought to be the same element! The principle source of potassium is mined in various places around the world. The cost per pound is around 10 dollars. Potassium phosphate used to be used widely in detergents but the phosphate polluted many rivers and streams.  Potassium is important to all life and the only con it has it how reactive the metal can be. The metal is controlled by storing it under oil. Potassium is common element that has many positive attributes. Along with helping bodily functions, potassium as a liquid is used as a heat-transfer medium and a desiccant. The element has an atomic number of 19 and has only one valence electron. Potassium has 20 neutrons and a cubic crystal structure. The melting point is  around 64 degrees Celsius and the melting point is 774.0 degrees Celsius. Gunpowder, made up of 75% of potassium, is a major component of modern fireworks. Most of the potassium produced is used in fertilizer because it is essential to plant nutrition. This alkali metals is one of the most common and important. Without potassium, humans would suffer heart problems and plants would struggle growing.

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely going to increase my intake of potassium every day. Thanks for the info!!