Potassium, with the chemical symbol K, is an alkali metal and an essential nutrient for plants, animals, and humans. It was first isolated in 1807 by Sir Humphry Davy, using potassium hydroxide and electrolysis.
On Earth, potassium ranks as the seventh most abundant element in the Earth's crust and is found in various minerals, primarily in the form of potassium salts such as sylvite and carnallite. It plays a crucial role in cellular metabolism and is essential for regulating water balance and nervous system function.
In agriculture, potassium is used as a fertilizer to promote plant growth. In the food industry, it serves as a preservative and flavor enhancer. Medically, potassium is utilized in dietary supplements.
Future applications could emerge in battery technology and energy generation. Research on potassium-ion batteries suggests promising alternatives based on a widely available element that is potentially cost-effective and environmentally friendly.