Potassium Valence Electrons (And How to Find them?)

potassium valence electrons

So you have seen the above image by now, right?

Awesome! You can see that potassium has 1 valence electron.

But how can you say that Potassium has 1 valence electron
How can you find this valence electron?

Let’s discuss this in short.

Potassium has 1 valence electron because there is 1 electron present in the outermost shell of the Potassium (K) atom.

Now let’s see how you can easily find the valence electrons of Potassium atom (K).

If you don’t want to read the texts, then you can also watch this video.

How to find the Valence Electrons? (2 Methods)

In order to find the valence electrons of Potassium atom (K), you can use two methods.

Method 1: From the Periodic Table

how many valence electrons does potassium have

To find out the valence electrons of Potassium, you have to see the position of potassium in the periodic table.

More specifically, you have to see the group wise position of Potassium element in the periodic table.

From the above image, you can see that Potassium (K) is present in the group 1 of periodic table.
(Note: Group 1 is also called group 1A).

So, as the potassium element is present in group 1, it has 1 valence electron.

In this way, by knowing the position of potassium element in periodic table, you can easily find its valence electrons.

Now let’s see another method for finding the number of valence electrons in potassium.

Method 2: From the Electron Configuration

If you want to find the valence electrons of potassium from its electron configuration, then you should know its electron configuration first.

Now there are many methods to write the electron configurations, but here I will show you the easiest method, i.e by using Aufbau principle.

Aufbau principle: The Aufbau principle simply states that the orbitals with the lower energy are filled first and then the orbitals with higher energy levels are filled.

According to the Aufbau principle, the orbitals are filled in the following order:
1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s, 4f, 5d, 6p, 7s, 5f, 6d, 7p, and so on.

Also the maximum number of electrons that can be accommodated in s, p, d & f orbitals are mentioned in the below table.

OrbitalsMaximum capacity of electrons [1]

Now let’s try to find the electron configuration of Potassium by using the Aufbau principle.

Electron Configuration of Potassium:

Follow the steps mentioned below to get the electron configuration of Potassium.

  • To write the electron configuration of potassium, we should first know the total number of electrons present in a potassium atom.
  • The potassium atom has a total of 19 electrons because its atomic number is 19 and it is a neutral atom[2]
  • Now we have to fill these 19 electrons in the atomic orbitals according to the Aufbau principle.
  • According to the Aufbau principle, the electrons will be filled first in 1s orbital, then in 2s orbital, then in 2p orbital, and so on…
  • So from the Aufbau principle, we can get the electron configuration of the potassium atom as 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s1. [3]

Now in this electron configuration of potassium, we have to see the total number of electrons present in the highest energy level.

valence electrons in potassium

You can see in the electron configuration of potassium (1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s1) that the highest energy level is 4. And the total number of electrons present in this energy level is 1.

So by knowing the electron configuration, we have found that the Potassium has 1 valence electron.

I hope you have understood the methods of finding the valence electrons in potassium. 

See more related topics for your practice;
Calcium Valence Electrons
Rubidium Valence Electrons
Strontium Valence Electrons
Cesium Valence Electrons
Barium Valence Electrons 


Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. With a desire to make learning accessible for everyone, he founded Knords Learning, an online learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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