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potassium vs. sodium

[ puh-tas-ee-uhm ]
  1. a silvery-white metallic element that oxidizes rapidly in the air and whose compounds are used as fertilizer and in special hard glasses. Symbol: K; atomic weight: 39.102; atomic number: 19; specific gravity: 0.86 at 20°C.
[ soh-dee-uhm ]
  1. a soft, silver-white, metallic element that oxidizes rapidly in moist air, occurring in nature only in the combined state, and used in the synthesis of sodium peroxide, sodium cyanide, and tetraethyllead: a necessary element in the body for the maintenance of normal fluid balance and other physiological functions. Symbol: Na; atomic weight: 22.9898; atomic number: 11; specific gravity: 0.97 at 20°C.
  2. any salt of sodium, as sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate, present in or added to foods or beverages as a seasoning or preservative and used in many pharmaceutical products as an antacid, anticoagulant, or other agent.

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