Potassium is a soft, silvery coloured metal, which like other members of the alkali group of metals, is extremely reactive. As with other members of the group, it can be prepared by electrolysis of the fused halide. The main source being potassium chloride. It does not occur naturally. Potassium has limited use as the pure metal, although it can be used with sodium as a coolant in liquid metal reactors. It is more commonly used as a salt; for example potassium bromide, which is used in photography, and potassium carbonate which has applications in the areas of fluxes, pharmaceuticals and soaps. One of the most important uses of potassium salts is as fertilisers. Potassium is an essential element for all living beings and, on average, a human being contains approximately 140 gm, the majority of which is present in muscle tissue.


1807 by Sir Humphrey Davy in London.

26000 ppm in the earth’s crust.

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Atomic number 19 Clip
Atomic / Molecular Weight 39.0983 gmol-1Clip
Density 862 kgm-3Clip
Crystal Structure bcc Clip
Lattice constant 532 fmClip
Melting Point 336.36 KClip
Boiling Point 1043 KClip
Specific heat capacity 753 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Latent heat of fusion 59000 Jkg-1Clip
Thermal conductivity 104 Wm-1K-1Clip
Bulk Modulus of Rigidity 3100000000 Nm-2Clip
Electromotive Series 2.92 VClip
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See also: Periodic Table, Potassium Acetate, Potassium Bromide, Potassium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Fluoride, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Manganate VII, Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Oxide, Potassium Peroxide, Potassium Sulphide, Potassium Superoxide.

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Subjects: Chemistry