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Potasium - Essay Example

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According to Roza, (2007), Humphrey Davy discovered the element 1807. He managed to isolate this element through electrolysis method making it the pioneer the use of this approach in isolation of other…
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Download file to see previous pages Potassium is a chemical element represented by the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a silvery-white metal, oxidizes quickly in the air, and reacts with water (Shaposhnik, 2007). During reaction with water, hydrogen is emitted and the heat generated is sufficient to ignite the hydrogen and burns with a lilac flame (Woodford, 2002). Potassium and Lithium are the least dense known metals. Interestingly the composition of the element makes up about 1.5% the earth crust’s weight. It is one of the most common mineral elements though it is rarely found naturally. It is found in crystalline form as feldspars or micas (Woodford, 2002).
Roza (2007) ascribed that people used plant ash to make soap. Later on scientists discovered that plant ash is composed of potassium (Roza, 2007). The main applications of potash were the production of glass, soap, bleach, and gunpowder as potassium nitrate. The discovery of potassium chloride mineral deposits in Germany led to the mass production of potassium-containing fertilizers.
The humans require this element for proper functioning of the system. There are events that leads to abnormal functioning that relates to deficiency of the element for instance consumption of coffee, alcohol, severe stressing of the body, excess strenuous physical and using potassium-wasting diuretics deprives the system of this element leading to hypokalemia (Roza, 2007; Woodford, 2002). Potassium deficiency leads to muscle weakness, severe fatigue, cardiac arrest, nervous disorders and poor reflexes can occur. Other conditions that influence the risk of hypokalemia include severe vomiting or diarrhea, abuse of laxatives, anorexia or bulimia, Magnesium deficiency and congestive heart failure. Excess potassium in the body could lead to dehydration. The kidneys regulate the concentration of potassium in the body (Roza, 2007; Woodford, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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