Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Iodine and Potassium Iodide

Iodine vs Potassium Iodide

Iodine and potassium iodide are often confused with each other because of a similar component: iodine.

In terms of chemical classification and structure, iodine is an element while potassium iodide is a chemical compound. Iodine has the atomic number 53 in the Periodic Table of Elements. Like many other elements, iodine has its own atomic weight, specific boiling point, and other unique information related to this particular element.

As a compound, potassium iodide is a combination of potassium and iodine. This means that the elements are combined chemically, and their individual features have merged in a stable condition.

As chemicals, both are represented by letters in chemical formulas and used in many experiments. The symbol for iodine is the letter “I.” Meanwhile, the symbol for potassium iodide is “KI “(“K” for potassium and “I” for iodine). Potassium iodide is further classified as an inorganic compound.

Iodine, as an element, is essential in the human diet. It is found in salt, and it concerns the body diet particularly the thyroid glands. Iodine helps the thyroid glands produce thyroxine hormones.

Iodine, in relation to its name, is blue-black to violet in color. It exists in a gaseous state and can easily be transformed into compounds with the addition of another element. There are two types of iodine:  the nonradioactive (natural) or radioactive (synthetic) iodine.

Potassium iodide is a compound that resulted from one of iodine’s chemical forms. Other chemical forms of iodine include iodate and elemental iodine. Iodine is a negative form of iodine.

Potassium iodide is white and clear in appearance. It usually appears as a solid, often in a powder form. It is considered to be the most important iodine compound.

Another difference between the two is their use. Iodine is mostly used as a disinfectant and a cleaning agent for cleaning wounds and purifying water. In terms of the human diet, iodine is essential in the structure of the thyroid gland.
On the other hand, potassium iodide is used to make iodized salt and as a supplement for iodine deficiency. It is also a pharmaceutical ingredient, especially in medications that prevent radioactive exposure.


  1. Iodine and potassium iodide are two different chemicals that are used in many applications.
  2. The first difference is the chemical structure of both items. Iodine is an element and has an atomic number. On the other hand, potassium iodide is a compound (or a mixture of two elements). The elements that combined in this particular compound are iodine and potassium.
  3. Another difference is the letters that represent both items in a chemical formula or expression.  Iodine is represented by the letter “I” while potassium is represented by the letters “KI,” “K” for potassium and “I” for iodine.
  4. Iodine has an atomic number, number 53, on the Periodic Table of Elements. On the other hand, potassium iodide has no atomic number. It retains the other specific information like its melting point and other similar information.
  5. Iodine is gas in form and blue to violet in color. In contrast, potassium iodide is white in color and in a solid, powder form.
  6. Iodine is very important to the human diet, especially to the thyroid gland. It helps in producing thyroxine hormones and is one of the elements essential in the structure of this gland. On the other hand, potassium is used as a solution for iodine deficiency and as a component in making iodized salt.
  7. Iodine is also used as a disinfectant in many areas like water or wounds. Meanwhile, potassium iodide is used as an ingredient in medications to prevent radioactive exposure.

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1 Comment

  1. I got iodine ones and it was dark brown. I finished it so my husband went and got more but this one is clear color i take it for my tyroid i just don’t know if one is different then the other in any way Besides the color

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