Potassium

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Potassium
39.0983(1)



  K
19
1s22s22p63s23p64s1 1,4,s
[ ? ] Alkali metal:
Properties:
Soft, silvery-white metal.
Uses:
Major use is in fertilizer industry.


Potassium is a chemical element, typically found as a solid in its elemental form. It has the chemical symbol K (from the Latin kalium), atomic number (number of protons) Z = 19, and a standard atomic weight of 39.0983 g/mol.

Potassium is considered to be a member of the "alkali metal" class of element. At a pressure of 101.325 kPa, it has a boiling point of 769 °C, and a melting point of 65.5 °C. It is a silvery-white, reactive metal. Potassium reacts violently with water, producing hydrogen. With a density of 0.862 g/cc, potassium is less dense than water.

Potassium in its cation form (K+) performs many different functions within the human body. K+ is essential for cellular function and maintaining homeostasis through action potentials.

Biochemistry

Potassium is a vital ion in cellular communication via the action potential.

Hyperkalemia occurs when there is too much potassium in the blood, and hypokalemia when there is a deficiency. Potassium levels in the body are balanced by levels of sodium.