Potassium (K), chemical element of Group 1 (Ia) of the periodic table, is indispensable for both plant and animal life. Potassium was the first metal to be isolated by electrolysis, by the English chemist Sir Humphry Davy, when he obtained the element (1807) by decomposing molten potassium hydroxide (KOH) with a voltaic battery.

Potassium metal is soft and white with a silvery lustre, has a low melting point, and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Potassium imparts a lilac colour to a flame, and its vapour is green. It is the seventh most abundant element in Earth’s crust, constituting 2.6 percent of its mass.

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