Chemical Elements: Properties and Uses of Sodium and Potassium

Basic facts about Sodium and Potassium.

Sodium

Sodium was discovered by Sir Humphry Davy of Britain in 1807. It comes from the word “soda”, which is sometimes used to describe various sodium compounds and “natrium”. Its symbol is Na. It belongs to the group 1 of the periodic table and is one of the alkali metals. Its atomic number is 11.

Sodium is a very essential part of plants and animal tissues. The most common compound is sodium chloride, which is our ordinary table salt. Sodium or soap is generally a sodium salt of fatty acids. Sodium’s liquid metal is used as a heat exchanger in certain nuclear reactors. It floats on water and may or may not ignite spontaneously on the water. Pure sodium is dangerous as it is poisonous and is very corrosive.

Sodium can be used as an ordinary table salt (sodium chloride). It is also used in soda, glass, as metal purifier, soap, paper and textile.

Potassium

Potassium is a very important element of all living things most especially to human beings. It is has good health benefits to the human body most especially to people with heart problems. As an element, it is a silvery white metal and can be cut with a knife. It is the lightest known metal and reacts rapidly to release hydrogen when in water, which burns with a lilac flame. It is a prime element in fertilizers eventhough it is slightly radioactive.

The symbol of Potassium is K. It comes from the words “potash” and “kalium”. It belongs to the group one of the periodic table and is one of the alkali metals. It was discovered by Sir Humphry Davy of Britain in 1807. A potassium compound was originally obtained by soaking wood ash in a pot of water and allowing the water to evaporate. It is a chemically reactive and extremely soft metallic element.

Potassium is used in fertilizers, as a heat transfer agent, “strike anywhere” matches, fireworks and explosives.

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5 Responses to “Chemical Elements: Properties and Uses of Sodium and Potassium”
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