What do sodium and potassium have in common?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sodium and potassium have a lot in common. They are both chemical elements. They are both metals, in fact, they are among a series of metals known as alkali metals. Both these metals are placed in group 1 of the periodic table of elements. Both sodium and potassium have 1 valence electron, since both have only 1 electron in outer shell.

Sodium has an electronic configuration of `1s^2, 2s^2, 2p^2, 3s^1` . Potassium has an electronic configuration of `1s^2, 2s^2, 2p^6, 3s^2, 3p^6, 4s^1` . Both, sodium and potassium, tend to lose this solitary valence electron and form cations with +1 charge. These cations of sodium and potassium participate in ionic bonding process and form ionic compounds. Both sodium and potassium are highly reactive and are generally found as compounds. 

Hope this helps. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial