I take potassium as a supplement in the form of potassium citrate. I dissolve a small amount in tap water and I drink it. Usually, I need to stir a lot, and sometimes I warm the water a little to make it easier to dissolve the potassium.

Recently, I bought some sparkling water (San Pellegrino, but I don't think that makes a difference) and when I put the potassium in it, it reacted making it bubble a little and it dissolved immediately.

Why is that? Did the potassium react with the CO2 or something else in the sparkling water?

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    $\begingroup$ It was influenced (at least to some extent) by physical effect: powders make bubbles as nucleating agents and bubbling mixes the powder. BTW you use pure potassium citrate? I don't think it's such a good idea. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 19 '18 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Why not? I use a pinch (like a pinch of salt) before going to bed. $\endgroup$ – user Jan 19 '18 at 1:19

Bubbles need nucleation points to form. The growth of bubbles is limited by the surface tension of the liquid. The surface tension acts stronger on smaller bubbles and less strong on bigger bubbles. Adding a solid salt to sparkling water means adding a lot of new nucleation points, which subsequently will lead to bubbling. The small bubbles will combine to bigger bubbles, these bigger bubbles are not so much effected by surface tension and so even more gas is produced. In other words, adding the salt will trigger a kind of avalanche effect, which weakens either if the dissolved CO2 gets towards used up or the salt gets dissolved completely.

It is not an reaction of dissolved potassium ions with the CO2, nor is it a reaction of dissolved citrate ions with the CO2. What happens here is a physical reaction and not an chemical reaction.

  • $\begingroup$ so any salt would do? or even sugar? $\endgroup$ – user Jan 19 '18 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ Any solid with high surface area would do this $\endgroup$ – Waylander Jan 19 '18 at 14:39

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