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METALS

THE ACTIVITY SERIES OF


METALS

QUICK REVISION

METALS REACT WITH OXYGEN, WATER AND


ACID.

WHAT HAVE WE NOTICED?

REACTION WITH OXYGEN

LITHIUM
SODIUM
POTASSIUM
CALCIUM
BARIUM
REACT RAPIDLY AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.

REACTION WITH OXYGEN

MAGNESIUM
ALUMINIUM
IRON
ZINC

REACT SLOWLY AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, BUT VIGOROUSLY IF HEATED


IN THE AIR OR PURE OXYGEN.

REACTION WITH OXYGEN

TIN
LEAD
COPPER

REACT SLOWLY AND THEN ONLY WHEN HEATED.

REACTION WITH OXYGEN

METAL + OXYGEN OXIDE

REACTION WITH WATER

LITHIUM
SODIUM
POTASSIUM
CALCIUM
BARIUM
REACT WITH WATER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.

REACTION WITH WATER

MAGNESIUM
ALUMINIUM
ZINC
IRON
REACT WITH STEAM AT INCREASED TEMPERATURES

REACTION WITH WATER

TIN
LEAD
COPPER
SILVER
GOLD
PLATINUM

DO NOT REACT WITH WATER AT ALL.

REACTION WITH WATER

METAL + WATER HYDROXIDE


+HYDROGEN GAS

REACTION WITH DILUTE ACID


Lithium
Sodium
Potassium
Calcium
Barium
Magnesium
Lead and Iron
ALL REACT WITH HYDROCHLORIC ACID AND
SULFURIC ACID.

REACTION WITH DILUTE ACID

Lead
Tin
REACT SLOWLY WITH HYDROCHLORIC ACID AND
SULFURIC ACID UNLESS HEATED

REACTION WITH DILUTE ACID

Copper
Silver
Gold
Platinum
Dont react with dilute acid.

REACTION WITH DILUTE ACID


METALS + ACID HYDROGEN GAS + SALT
REACTIONS WITH HYDROCHLORIC ACID AND SULPHURIC ACID
PRODUCE EITHER CHLORIDES OR SULFATES AND HYDROGEN
GAS.

ACTIVITY SERIES OF THE METALS


FROM THESE 3 PATTERNS OF REACTION, IT SEEMS THERE IS A
FURTHER, UNDERLYING PATTERN. CERTAIN METALS, LIKE SODIUM,
ALWAYS SEEM TO REACT READILY AND VIGOROUSLY. OTHERS, LIKE
COPPER, ALWAYS REACT SLOWLY OR NOT AT ALL.
FROM THIS, AND OTHER REACTION STUDIES, THE COMMON
LABORATORY METALS CAN BE ARRANGED IN AN ACTIVITY SERIES

ACTIVITY SERIES OF THE METALS

K NA LI BA CA MG AL ZN FE SN PB CU
AG AU
MOST
REACTIVE

LEAST
REACTIVE

ACTIVITY SERIES OF THE METALS


IF YOU LOOK FOR THESE METALS ON THE PERIODIC
TABLE YOU WILL NOTICE A FURTHER PATTERN.

THE HIGHLY ACTIVE METALS ALL LIE TO THE EXTREME


LEFT OF THE TABLE, AND THE HIGHER THEIR
ACTIVITY, THE LOWER DOWN THE TABLE THEY ARE
WITHIN EACH COLUMN.

ACTIVITY SERIES OF THE METALS


K NA LI BA CA MG AL ZN FE SN PB CU AG AU
REACTION WITH WATER, OXYGEN OR DILUTED ACIDS CAUSE METAL ATOMS TO LOSE
ELECTRONS TO BECOME METAL IONS.
THE SEQUENCE OF THE ACTIVITY SERIES IS LISTED IN ORDER OF DECREASING EASE OF
LOSING ELECTRONS: METALS TO THE LEFT LOSE ELECTRONS MORE EASILY THAN METALS TO
THE RIGHT.
THE LOSS OF ELECTRONS MEANS OXIDATION, SO THE ACTIVITY SERIES LISTS METALS IN
ORDER OF DECREASING EASE OF OXIDATION, EG. K NA LI BA ARE MORE EASILY OXIDISED
THAN CU AG AU.
CONVERSELY THE ACTIVITY SERIES LISTS METALS IN ORDER OF INCREASING EASE OF
REDUCTION OF THE METAL IONS, EG. AG+ AND CU2+ IONS ARE EASILY REDUCED WHILE ZN2+
AL33+ NA3+ ARE DIFFICULT TO REDUCE.

ACTIVITY SERIES OF THE METALS

THIS IS ONE OF MANY PATTERNS THAT ALLOWS


YOU TO USE THE
PERIODIC TABLE INSTEAD OF LEARNING MANY
SMALL FACTS. FOR
EXAMPLE, INSTEAD OF MEMORIZING THE
ACTIVITY SERIES FULLY,
YOU CAN REMEMBER THE PATTERN ABOVE AND
ALWAYS BE ABLE TO
FIGURE OUT THE ORDER OF THE MOST ACTIVE
METALS.

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