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Potassium Oxide

Potassium Oxide

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Not only do elements exist on their own but also as compounds. Some are laboratory prepared while others can be formed through natural reactions with other elements. Potassium is an element denoted by K, with an atomic number of 19. It quickly oxidizes in the air and reacts vigorously with water, generating heat in the process. The oxidation of potassium is faster than some metals and forms oxides. During the reaction, three types of oxides are formed potassium oxide, potassium superoxide and potassium peroxide.

Oxygen is one of the greatest reactive elements in the periodic table and the element it reacts with becomes an oxide. It is denoted by O and has atomic number 8. It is non metallic and highly reactive, forming compounds or oxides with other elements. Being that it is highly abundant in air, other elements when exposed to the air readily react with it.


Potassium oxide, with the chemical formula K2O is a compound consisting of potassium and oxygen. It is a rare, ionic compound that is extremely reactive. The reaction of potassium and oxygen produces the compound potassium peroxide, with the chemical formula K2O2.

When this compound is treated with potassium, it gives the oxide.

K2O2+2K             2 K2O

Also, potassium oxide is produced through the heating of potassium nitrate alongside potassium. This is illustrated in the following equation.

2KNO3+10K            6K2O+N2

The potassium oxide is a basic oxide, meaning it reacts with acid to produce water and salt only. It is also soluble in water and forms alkalis. It reacts vigorously with water to form potassium hydroxide.

Although K2O is not actually used as a fertilizer, it is included in the Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium (N-P-K) numbers found on fertilizers. Potassium oxide makes up 83% of the weight of potassium.

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