Sodium vs Potassium: Difference and Comparison

Nature is made up of various elements. These elements can be physical, chemical and environmental. The presence of these elements is in various forms and places.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Sodium and potassium are alkali metals essential for bodily functions such as nerve function and hydration.
  2. Sodium is more abundant in the human body than potassium, but both must be consumed in the diet as the body cannot produce them independently.
  3. Sodium and potassium have opposite effects on blood pressure, with high sodium intake increasing blood pressure and decreasing potassium intake.

Sodium vs Potassium

The difference between Sodium and Potassium is that Sodium metal is found naturally in oceans in dissolved form, whereas, Potassium metal is found in Earth’s crust in mineral form. Although both these metals are alkaline, i.e. they can form alkaline or basic compounds and also have the same atomic structure, they differ in their atomic number and applications.

Sodium vs Potassium

Sodium is an alkali metal that is found in dissolved form in oceans. It is chemically denoted by “Na” and has an atomic number of 11.

On the other hand, Potassium is present as a mineral in the Earth’s crust. It is chemically denoted by “K”, and its atomic number is 19.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSodiumPotassium
Chemical SymbolSodium is an alkali metal which is denoted by “Na”. Potassium is also an alkali metal denoted by “K”.
Atomic NumberIts atomic number is 11. Its atomic number is 19.
PeriodIt is present in Period 3 in the periodic table. It is present in Period 4 in the periodic table.
Found inIt is found in dissolved form in seawater. It is found as a mineral in the Earth’s crust.
Electronic ConfigurationIt has an electronic configuration of [Ne] 3s¹. Its electronic configuration is [Ar] 4s¹.
Valence ElectronThe valence electron is present in the 3s orbital. The valence electron is present in the 4s orbital.
Melting PointIts melting point is 97.79°C. Its melting point is 63.5°C.
Boiling PointIts boiling point is 882.8°C. Its boiling point is 759°C.
Atomic SizeIt is smaller in size. It is comparatively larger than the sodium atom.

What is Sodium?

Sodium is one of the chemical elements that belong to Group 1 of the periodic table. It is a naturally occurring element that is found dissolved in oceans and seas.

The electronic configuration of sodium is [Ne] 3s¹. The valence electron is present in the 3s orbital. The metal forms strong electrovalent bonds with other elements by losing the valence electron.

Sodium has high reactivity. It vigorously reacts with water and oxygen. It is very soft in texture and can be cut with a knife.

Sodium forms bonds, which result in the formation of several compounds. Most of the salts of sodium are alkaline. Sodium is also a block element and is able to form a monovalent cation.


What is Potassium?

Potassium is a highly reactive metal that is classified under Period 4 and Group 1 in the periodic table. It is one of the alkali metals, just like sodium.

The electronic configuration of potassium is [Ar] 4s¹. It has the valence electron in the 4s orbital. Potassium loses the valence electron and gains a positive charge.

As potassium is highly reactive, it forms reactive compounds with water and oxygen. It forms hydroxide when water is reacted with it.

Potassium ion is an essential element for all living beings. Plants use it for photosynthesis. However, the metal should be utilised under a certain limit, or else it can be very toxic.


Main Differences Between Sodium and Potassium

  1. Sodium belongs to period 3, and Potassium belongs to period 4 on the Periodic Table.
  2. Sodium forms electrovalent bonds, while Potassium forms ionic bonds with non-metals.
Difference Between Sodium and Potassium

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