SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Potassium reacting with water in a water bath, with phenolphthalein (pink) indicating the presence of an alkali (here, potassium hydroxide). Potassium (K) is an alkali metal and a highly reactive element. It reacts with water (H2O) to produce potassium hydroxide (KOH) and hydrogen gas (H2). The reaction produces enough heat to ignite the hydrogen, which burns with a pink flame due to the presence of the potassium. The heat of the reaction also melts the potassium metal, which forms a molten ball that floats on the water. For the reaction without the indicator, see C040/2678.
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