Metalloid vs. Potassium

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Metalloid and Potassium is that the Metalloid is a chemical element with properties of both metals and nonmetals and Potassium is a element with the atomic number of 19

  • Metalloid

    A metalloid is a type of chemical element which has a preponderance of properties in between, or that are a mixture of, those of metals and nonmetals. There is no standard definition of a metalloid and no complete agreement on which elements are metalloids. Despite the lack of specificity, the term remains in use in the literature of chemistry.

    The six commonly recognised metalloids are boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony, and tellurium. Five elements are less frequently so classified: carbon, aluminium, selenium, polonium, and astatine. On a standard periodic table, all eleven elements are in a diagonal region of the p-block extending from boron at the upper left to astatine at lower right. Some periodic tables include a dividing line between metals and nonmetals, and the metalloids may be found close to this line.

    Typical metalloids have a metallic appearance, but they are brittle and only fair conductors of electricity. Chemically, they behave mostly as nonmetals. They can form alloys with metals. Most of their other physical properties and chemical properties are intermediate in nature. Metalloids are usually too brittle to have any structural uses. They and their compounds are used in alloys, biological agents, catalysts, flame retardants, glasses, optical storage and optoelectronics, pyrotechnics, semiconductors, and electronics.

    The electrical properties of silicon and germanium enabled the establishment of the semiconductor industry in the 1950s and the development of solid-state electronics from the early 1960s.The term metalloid originally referred to nonmetals. Its more recent meaning, as a category of elements with intermediate or hybrid properties, became widespread in 1940–1960. Metalloids are sometimes called semimetals, a practice that has been discouraged, as the term semimetal has a different meaning in physics than in chemistry. In physics, it refers to a specific kind of electronic band structure of a substance. In this context, only arsenic and antimony are semimetals, and commonly recognised as metalloids.

  • Potassium

    Potassium is a chemical element with the symbol K (from Neo-Latin kalium) and atomic number 19. Potassium is a silvery-white metal that is soft enough to be cut with a knife with little force. Potassium metal reacts rapidly with atmospheric oxygen to form flaky white potassium peroxide in only seconds of exposure. It was first isolated from potash, the ashes of plants, from which its name derives. In the periodic table, potassium is one of the alkali metals, all of which have a single valence electron in the outer electron shell, that is easily removed to create an ion with a positive charge – a cation, that combines with anions to form salts. Potassium in nature occurs only in ionic salts. Elemental potassium reacts vigorously with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite hydrogen emitted in the reaction, and burning with a lilac-colored flame. It is found dissolved in sea water (which is 0.04% potassium by weight), and occurs in many minerals such as orthoclase, a common constituent of granites and other igneous rocks.

    Potassium is chemically very similar to sodium, the previous element in group 1 of the periodic table. They have a similar first ionization energy, which allows for each atom to give up its sole outer electron. That they are different elements that combine with the same anions to make similar salts was suspected in 1702, and was proven in 1807 using electrolysis. Naturally occurring potassium is composed of three isotopes, of which 40K is radioactive. Traces of 40K are found in all potassium, and it is the most common radioisotope in the human body.

    Potassium ions are vital for the functioning of all living cells. The transfer of potassium ions across nerve cell membranes is necessary for normal nerve transmission; potassium deficiency and excess can each result in numerous signs and symptoms, including an abnormal heart rhythm and various electrocardiographic abnormalities. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good dietary sources of potassium. The body responds to the influx of dietary potassium, which raises serum potassium levels, with a shift of potassium from outside to inside cells and an increase in potassium excretion by the kidneys.

    Most industrial applications of potassium exploit the high solubility in water of potassium compounds, such as potassium soaps. Heavy crop production rapidly depletes the soil of potassium, and this can be remedied with agricultural fertilizers containing potassium, accounting for 95% of global potassium chemical production.

  • Metalloid (noun)

    An element, such as silicon or germanium, intermediate in properties between that of a metal and a nonmetal; especially one that exhibits the external characteristics of a metal, but behaves chemically more as a nonmetal.

  • Metalloid (noun)

    The metallic base of a fixed alkali, or alkaline earth; applied to sodium, potassium, and some other metallic substances whose metallic character was supposed to be not well defined.

  • Metalloid (adjective)

    Of or relating to the metalloids.

  • Metalloid (adjective)

    Characteristic of the metal music genre.

  • Potassium (noun)

    A soft, waxy, silvery reactive metal that is never found unbound in nature; an element (symbol K) with an atomic number of 19 and atomic weight of 39.0983. The symbol is derived from the Latin kalium.

  • Potassium (noun)

    A single atom of this element.


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