MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: How can i measure the level of Potassium in something?

Date: Sat May 13 15:21:25 2000
Posted By: Gabriel Harris, Grad student, Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 955591678.Ch

The best way to measure the level of most minerals, including potassium, is 
by a process called Inductively Coupled Plasma, or ICP for short.

Basically, ICP works by sending a fine spray of a mineral solution into a 
chamber filled with hot gas.  The gas "excites" the minerals, causing them 
to give off energy at a certain wavelength (each mineral gives off its 
energy at a specific wavelength).  The strength of the energy given off 
indicates how much of a mineral is contained in solution.

I have included the URL for a site which describes how this process works 
and includes pictures of the process.

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