potassium[pə tas′ē əm]
The definition of potassium is an alkali metal.
Facts About Potassium
- Its symbol is K, which is Latin for kalium.
- It has an atomic number of 19.
- Potassium reacts violently to water which makes hydrogen. During the process, there is enough heat generated to ignite the hydrogen.
- Before the 19th century, it was thought that sodium and potassium were the same.
- In nature, potassium is found in ionic salts, just like sodium.
- It is a very soft, light silvered colored metal that tarnishes quickly in air into a gray color.
- When it is burned, the flame is a light purple.
- Most of the potassium produced in the world is used by the fertilizer industry.
- It helps the nerves and muscles do their job, to maintain the proper acid-base balance, and can lower blood pressure.
- Some medications interfere in potassium levels including ACE inhibitors, Heparin, Bactrim or Septra, Cyclosporine, Beta Blockers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs.
An example of potassium is the mineral found in dried apricots and raisins.
Origin of potassiumModL: so named (1807) ; from potassa ; from Dutch potasch, potash, by Humphrey Sir Humphry Davy, who first isolated it from potash
Origin of potassiumFrom earlier potass, potash (from which it was first obtained), from French potasse, from Dutch potas : pot, pot (from Middle Dutch; akin to Old English pott) + as, ash (from Middle Dutch asche; see as- in Indo-European roots).
From potassa (“potash”) + -ium.