How are potassium atoms formed from potassium ions?

1 Answer
Aug 1, 2017

See explanation below.


Potassium is element number #19# on the Periodic Table of the Elements. If you refer to the table, you will see that the atomic symbol for Potassium is #"K"#. So, we will use this symbol to refer to Potassium.

If you recall, an ion is an atom or group of atoms that has a net negative or net positive charge. This means that when you add up all of the individual charges for all of the components of an ion, it should not be equal to zero (by definition).

Also, recall that noble gases (or inert gases) are the most stable of the elements, due to their filled valence electron shells (the outer electron shell). In the case of #"K"#, a Potassium atom acquires a charge of #+1# to enter its noble gas electron configuration. You can tell this because it is found in Group #1# of the Periodic Table of the Elements.

So, #"K"^+# is the ion we refer to in this question.

If we get back to our question, how are #"K"# atoms formed from #"K"^+# ions, then we just have to look at the difference between the two Potassium species. #"K"^+# ions have #1# less electron than #"K"# atoms, based on what we discussed.

Therefore, the short answer is, Potassium ions gain #1# electron in order to become Potassium atoms.

I hope that helps!

P.S. If any part of my explanation was too confusing and needs further simpler explanation, please leave a comment on my answer. Thanks!