Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: sodium ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: sodium
Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: shackles-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 12 Oct 2004 13:13 PDT
Expires: 11 Nov 2004 12:13 PST
Question ID: 413843
How are potassium and sodium interconnected?

Request for Question Clarification by librariankt-ga on 14 Oct 2004 06:03 PDT
Hi Shackles,

As Azhariqbal notes below, we need a bit more context in order to
answer your question fully.  Are you looking for information on the
chemical properties of potassium and sodium?  Information about the
potassium-sodium pump that drives nerves and muscles?  Some more
information about your question will help us a lot!

Subject: Re: sodium
Answered By: librariankt-ga on 15 Oct 2004 08:40 PDT
Hi Shackles,

Sodium and potassium ions are pumped out of and into of the body's
cells (respectively) to help maintain water balance, move glucose
(sugar) around, and to facilitate nerve impulses.  This process is the
"sodium-potassium pump" about which there should be a lot of
information in your biology textbooks.  Here are some websites:

The Free Dictionary - NAKATPase:

The Free Dictionary - NA-K Pump:

Estrella Mountain Community College: Online Biology Book - The Nervous System
"The plasma membrane of neurons, like all other cells, has an unequal
distribution of ions and electrical charges between the two sides of
the membrane. The outside of the membrane has a positive charge,
inside has a negative charge. This charge difference is a resting
potential and is measured in millivolts. Passage of ions across the
cell membrane passes the electrical charge along the cell. The voltage
potential is -65mV (millivolts) of a cell at rest (resting potential).
Resting potential results from differences between sodium and
potassium positively charged ions and negatively charged ions in the
cytoplasm. Sodium ions are more concentrated outside the membrane,
while potassium ions are more concentrated inside the membrane. This
imbalance is maintained by the active transport of ions to reset the
membrane known as the sodium potassium pump. The sodium-potassium pump
maintains this unequal concentration by actively transporting ions
against their concentration gradients."

Transport Across Cell Membranes: Direct Active Transport
"the same transporter, called the Na+/K+ ATPase, does both jobs. It
uses the energy from the hydrolysis of ATP to

actively transport 3 Na+ ions out of the cell
for each 2 K+ ions pumped into the cell.
This accomplishes several vital functions: 
It helps establish a net charge across the plasma membrane with the
interior of the cell being negatively charged with respect to the
exterior. This resting potential prepares nerve and muscle cells for
the propagation of action potentials leading to nerve impulses and
muscle contraction.
The accumulation of sodium ions outside of the cell draws water out of
the cell and thus enables it to maintain osmotic balance (otherwise it
would swell and burst from the inward diffusion of water).
The gradient of sodium ions is harnessed to provide the energy to run
several types of indirect pumps.
The crucial roles of the Na+/K+ ATPase are reflected in the fact that
almost one-third of all the energy generated by the mitochondria in
animal cells is used just to run this pump."

Here's the Google search I did to find these sites: "sodium potassium
pump human".  As always, let me know if you need more or different

Subject: Re: sodium
From: azhariqbal-ga on 14 Oct 2004 04:24 PDT
You did not mention what do you mean by interconeected. Anyway both Na
and K are the alkai metals. Alkali metals are the metals of group I A
of the periodic table. The following are some of the points common in
these two metals.

.. Both are alkali metals.
.. Both of these have one elctron in their outermost shell.
.. The outermost orbital in both of them is s-orbital so they belong
to s-block of the periodic table.
.. Their ionization energies are quite low so they make ionic bonds only.
.. Both of them react with halogens and form salts.
.. Both of them cam make ionic bonds with hydrogen (hydrides).
.. The method of extraction of these metals is same.
.. As both of them are very reactive so they are found in free state
in     nature. However their comppounds are available.

I hope it will fulfil the purpose.
Subject: Re: sodium
From: neilzero-ga on 15 Oct 2004 04:25 PDT
I'm sure azhariqbal meant to type that sodium and potassium are NOT
found in the free state in nature. They are so reactive they form a
thick coat of the oxide in minutes exposed to air. A one cm cube
dropped in water will race around rapidly on the surface emitting
hydrogen as a propellent. A coating of the hydroxide forms on the
surface which gets so hot the hydrogen ignites. Sometimes the residue
explodes with a loud pop throwing hot caustic shrapnel, so run, after
you drop the sodium or potassium in water, to avoid injury.
 I'm not sure why forming salts with halogens was mentioned, as nearly
all metals can be made to do that. Perhaps the distinction is sodium
and potassium react violently with halogens even at very low
temperatures.   Neil

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy