The chemical element that bears the symbol K, potassium has an atomic mass of 39.0983 and an atomic number of 19. This alkali metal is soft and has a color of silvery white. It reacts to water and it oxidizes in air. Aside from this, the element can produce enough heat to burn evolved form of hydrogen. This element is commonly found in seawater as well as in ionic salt. Various fruits are also rich in this element. To know more about this important chemical element, it is best to start with the discovery of potassium.
Who discovered potassium? The alkali metal was discovered by Sir Humphry Davy in 1807 in England. The discovery of the element happened when he used electrolysis to process caustic potash. According to records, it is the first alkali metal to be discovered using electrolysis. At first, there are no distinctions between potassium and sodium. However, after the 18th century, Davy performed the technique once again and extracted sodium. At this time, he was able to identify the different characteristics and properties of the two elements.
Potassium is a very important element because it helps improve our health conditions. Medical experts agree that this alkali metal is necessary for our survival. In order to improve human’s intake of the chemical element, experts add this in processed additives and drinks like tomato paste and orange juice. Aside from these, people can also get high level of this element in fruits and vegetables including potatoes, bananas, white beans and beet greens. Other sources of potassium are baking powder and table salt.
Aside from food applications, the chemical element has biological applications. The element can be used as fertilizers to plants in the form of chloride, nitrate and sulfate. In addition to this, potassium chloride is also important to stop the functioning of the heart, which is significant to heart surgery. Moreover, the solution of the chloride is used in lethal injection.
When it comes to the industrial applications, chemists vaporize the element in order to use it in various kinds of magnetometers. Potassium chromate is very useful in the production of dyes, inks, fireworks and explosives. This element is also helpful in the creation of fly paper and leather tanning. Finally, potassium chlorate is a very essential element in safety matches, percussion caps. It is also used in developing an effective weed killer, which is significant to enhance the growth of different plant species.