The Alkali Metals!

Lithium (Li), sodium (Na), potassium (K), rubidium (Rb), caesium (Cs), and francium (Fr) together make up the alkali metals. They are also known as the lithium family of elements. 

Along with hydrogen gas (H), the alkali metals form the first group of the periodic table of elements. All the alkali metals have one outer electron at the atomic level. They quickly lose this electron to gain a +1 positive charge. Having the same arrangement of electrons gives them similar properties. All the alkali metals are shiny, soft, and highly reactive. Because of their softness, a knife can easily cut all alkali metals.

The shiny surface of alkali metals dulls in the air, caused through oxidation by atmospheric moisture, oxygen, or nitrogen. Due to their high reactivity, the alkali metals are stored under oil. In addition to air, all alkali metals react with water. The heavier alkali metals react more intensely with water than the lighter alkali metals, and may cause fire or an explosion. 

Although not commonly seen, the alkali metals have many uses. Lithium is used in medicines and batteries. The sodium-vapor lamp makes use of sodium. Along with sodium and lithium, potassium is biologically relevant. Atomic clocks use rubidium and caesium. 

Watch the video to revise the properties of alkali metals and see them chemically react! 

Copyright @smorescience. All rights reserved. Do not copy, cite, publish, or distribute this content without permission.

Join 20,000+ parents and educators
To get the FREE science newsletter in your inbox!