# Potassium ions (K^+#) have a positive charge. What happens to a potassium atom's electrons when it becomes an ion?

Jan 26, 2017

Well, usually they have caused a reduction in another reagent.

#### Explanation:

We drop a (small!) chunk of potassium in water, and some of the water is reduced to dihydrogen. And we can represent by a pair of redox rxns:

$K \left(s\right) \rightarrow {K}^{+} + {e}^{-}$; $\text{oxidation}$

${H}_{2} O \left(l\right) + {e}^{-} \rightarrow \frac{1}{2} {H}_{2} + H {O}^{-}$; $\text{reduction}$

Overall,

$K \left(s\right) + {H}_{2} O \left(l\right) \rightarrow K O H \left(a q\right) + \frac{1}{2} {H}_{2} \left(g\right)$

In a teaching lab, it is better to use lithium or sodium to demonstrate this reaction. Potassium gives a lot of spritz and sparx.........