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Potassium reacts very violently with water producing hydrogen gas which then usually catches fire. Potassium is usually kept under a hydrocarbon oil such as mineral oil or kerosene to stop the metal from reacting with water vapour present in the air. Unlike lithium and sodium, however, potassium should not be stored under oil indefinitely. If stored longer than 6 months to a year, dangerous shock-sensitive peroxides can form on the metal and under the lid of the container, which can detonate upon opening. It is recommended that potassium, rubidium or caesium not be stored for longer than three months unless stored in an inert (oxygen free) atmosphere, or under vacuum.
As potassium reacts with water to produce highly flammable hydrogen gas, a potassium fire is only exacerbated by the addition of water, and only a few dry chemicals are effective for putting out such a fire (see the precaution section in sodium).
Potassium also produces potassium hydroxide (KOH) in the reaction with water. Potassium hydroxide is a strong alkali and so is a caustic hazard, causing burns.
Due to the highly reactive nature of potassium metal, it must be handled with great care, with full skin and eye protection being used and preferably an explosive resistant barrier between the user and the potassium.
Originally posted by rekar
We had a teacher In High School demonstrate the reaction of Francium to water... Violent as hell... then again, She used a pin head amount, put that inside a dissolvable capsule, and we used a glass of water...
Note: We weren't anywhere close to it when it came into contact with the water, and we were behind a shield, just in case....
Yeah.... mean stuff... I learned from there, anything on the left of the table is a no-go for water...