Potassium, which is an element, is denoted by the symbol K, and has an atomic number of 19. It is believed that potassium was derived from potash which was used in previous times by people for performing several different functions to sustain their lives. As far as the discovery of potassium is concerned, there are several incidents that collectively shape its history.
Potassium was not at all known during the Roman times. The element got its name from potash which is basically an English word meaning alkali. Potash was derived from burnt wood ashes. Potash was mostly unknown at that point of time. It later became evident that potash was nothing but mainly the potassium carbonate. Sir Humphry Davy who belonged to England and was a chemist by profession discovered potassium during the year 1807.
He could do so by splitting potassium taken from molten potash and then separated it from the salt. He observed that potassium on being thrown on water made a very hissing sound and started burning with a purple light.
Potassium is silver white in color and resembles the alkali metals belonging to the first group. Potassium is highly reactive and much more reactive than sodium. Potassium combines rapidly with kerosene or any hydrocarbon. It is known to get ignited with the water in order to form potassium hydroxide. It also combined very fast with the halogens, sulfur and various other non metallic elements. Potassium has several benefits that are provided to the human body apart from being used in various other areas.
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