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Author Topic: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?  (Read 1675 times)

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Offline Don P

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Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« on: April 29, 2018, 07:53:54 PM »
That was my wife's question this morning as I was trying to wipe the sleep out of my eyes and get my caffeine levels up to par. It's spring and she had been looking at plant fertilizer rates. "Dunno"

So, off to google while she was making a short stack of pancakes.
Potassium is from "potash", the practice of putting wood ashes in a container and leaching out the lye, potassium carbonate or hydroxide. OK remembered that but it didn't explain the K.

K comes from the latin for potassium "kalium"
which probably comes from the Arabic for potassium "qali"

If I had to guess.. al-qali ..alkali

So anyway K, potassium = Kalium

Offline WDH

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2018, 07:59:16 PM »
You need to drink another cup of coffee.  Maybe two :)
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Offline Don P

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 09:14:42 PM »
 :D 2 pots, country ham, flapjacks... that's it, missing the magic G.
I do enjoy the stories behind stuff.

I found out the rest of the story, she just had me proofread a post for the farmers market market;
http://independencefarmersmarket.org/2018/04/using-soil-test-results/

Offline Magicman

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2018, 10:06:58 PM »
You made me look up pb and au.  Yup Latin.  :)
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Offline whitepine2

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2018, 10:31:16 PM »
K2O,P2O5 and N the three main fertilizer make up,if I remember from High School a lone lone time ago. 

Offline Don P

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2018, 10:34:55 PM »
That's it, on fertilizer it is listed as percentages of N-P-K like 10-10-10 or 0-0-50

I remember plumbum... plumbing, etc what's the story on au?

I was looking up the difference between brass and bronze the other day after one of Brad's posts, brass is copper and zinc, bronze is copper and tin, sn, stannum, I squirreled off in another direction before figuring out who Stan was :D

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2018, 11:07:21 PM »
Lead is:  pb  (from Latin: plumbum)

Gold is: Au (from Latin: aurum)

Silver is: Ag (from Latin: argentum)
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2018, 11:15:27 PM »
My metal shop teacher had a little saying to tell the difference between the makeup of Brass and Bronze.  "One has zinc, the other copper.  Just remember you cannot have two Zs."  So Bronze must have Copper and Brass must have Zinc.
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Offline ToddsPoint

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2018, 04:41:36 AM »
There are many kinds of brass.  Red, yellow, naval, etc.  Brass is an alloy of copper, tin, zinc, and lead. Naval brass has no zinc due to salt environment.   Bronze is just copper and tin.  I worked in a machine shop and yellow brass was my favorite.  It machines easy and clean.  Gary
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Offline Don P

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2018, 06:47:14 AM »
Apparently plumbum or its root predates latin.  Lead comes from old Irish "luaide". A lead weight hanging from a string gives us the plumb bob and then plumb, vertical. The romans ran water in pipes of lead because it was easy to work, they also stored wine in it. I remember Benjamin Franklin wrote something about that, it was used to sweeten spoiled wine even in his time although he spoke out against it, he knew it as a poisonous metal. I'm not sure when we figured that out.

Offline Logger RK

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2018, 07:37:24 AM »
Probably while eating a stack of pancakes. 

Offline Jeff

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2018, 08:24:15 AM »
You made me look up pb and au.  Yup Latin.  :)
Is au the symbol for Jelly then?
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2018, 09:36:46 AM »
There are many kinds of brass.  Red, yellow, naval, etc.  Brass is an alloy of copper, tin, zinc, and lead. Naval brass has no zinc due to salt environment.   Bronze is just copper and tin.  I worked in a machine shop and yellow brass was my favorite.  It machines easy and clean.  Gary
So is Naval Brass really Bronze?
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Brucer

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2018, 01:32:01 AM »
The Romans made a sweetener, Lead Acetate, by boiling wine in lead containers. It was a common sweetener among the wealthy and it probably caused a lot of chronic lead poisoning.

My old chemistry handbook doesn't list anything called Naval Brass, but it does give the formula for "Naval Journal Bearing" -- 83% Cu, 14% Sn, 3.5% Pb. That's Copper, Tin, and Lead, so it's not really a Bronze.

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Offline Lassen Forge

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2018, 11:49:20 PM »
I learned AU was Almost Unaffordable (Gold), AG was "Almost Gold (Silver or the next precious metal down).

Iron was Fe for Ferrum (tho women - Females - need more iron in their diets), Can't remember why Mercury is HG, but there was something like that for that.  (IIRC Heavy Something)

And oh yeah...  Tin is Sn.  As in Tin Snips.  :-)  

Offline woodmills1

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2018, 06:57:23 PM »
OK, sorry for checking in late but I may be a minor king in periodic chart jokes.  How did your mother fix the rips  in your clothes?  She sodium them.  What does the doctor do to male patients?
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Offline Don P

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Re: Why is the chemical symobol for potassium K?
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2018, 08:46:08 PM »
Curium or Barium ???


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Chemical for cleaning tank

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