Potassium | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Potassium | Descriptions, Chemical and Physical Properties, Uses & Facts

Potassium Unveiled: A Vital Element for Health and Industry


Potassium, an essential alkali metal, is a fundamental element for both biological processes and industrial applications. In this blog, we will delve into the symbol, atomic number, atomic mass, electron configuration, valency, chemical and physical properties, reactions with other elements, uses, and interesting facts about potassium. Additionally, we will explore specific potassium compounds like potassium iodide, potassium supplements, potassium citrate, potassium sorbate, and their sources.

Chemical Properties:

- Symbol: K

- Atomic Number: 19

- Atomic Mass: 39.0983 u

- Electron Configuration: [Ar] 4s¹


- Valency: +1

Potassium is highly reactive due to its single valence electron, readily forming positive ions in chemical reactions.

Physical Properties:

- State: Solid at room temperature

- Density: 0.86 g/cm³

- Melting Point: 63.38°C

- Boiling Point: 759°C

Potassium is a soft, silvery-white metal that can be easily cut with a knife. It tarnishes quickly in air due to its reactivity with oxygen and moisture.

Reactions with Other Elements:

Reaction with Water:

Potassium reacts vigorously with water, producing potassium hydroxide and hydrogen gas.
  1. Reaction with Oxygen:
    Potassium readily forms oxides when exposed to oxygen.
  1. Reaction with Halogens:
  2. 2K+Cl22KCl
  3. 2K+Cl22KCl
    Potassium reacts with halogens to form metal halides.

Uses and Facts:

1. Biological Importance:

Potassium is a crucial electrolyte for nerve function, muscle contraction, and maintaining fluid balance in the body.

2. Industrial Applications:

 Potassium compounds are used in fertilizers, contributing to plant growth and development.

3. Potassium Iodide:

Used in medicine and as a source of iodine, potassium iodide is employed in the treatment of thyroid conditions and as a radiation protective agent.

4. Potassium Supplements:

Essential for maintaining heart health, potassium supplements are often prescribed to individuals with potassium deficiencies.

5. Potassium Citrate:

 A common supplement for treating kidney stones, potassium citrate helps regulate urine acidity.

6. Potassium Sorbate:

A preservative in the food industry, potassium sorbate inhibits the growth of mold and yeast in various products.

7. Potassium Powder and Salt:

Potassium powder may be used in certain industrial processes, and potassium salts are utilized in food preparation and preservation.

8. Ferric Citrate:

While not directly related to potassium, ferric citrate is a compound of iron and citric acid used as a medication to treat high phosphate levels in patients with kidney disease.

Sources of Potassium in Food:

Bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes are rich dietary sources of potassium.


Potassium, with its unique properties and diverse applications, is a vital element for both living organisms and various industries. From maintaining health through dietary intake to playing a pivotal role in industrial processes, potassium's significance cannot be overstated. Exploring compounds like potassium iodide, supplements, citrate, and sorbate further highlights the versatility of this essential element in our daily lives.

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