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Group

One:
The Alkali
Metals
The Alkali Metals
The alkali metals are:
Lithium – Li 

The Alkali Metals
The alkali metals are:
Lithium – Li
Sodium – Na 

The Alkali Metals
The alkali metals are:
Lithium – Li
Sodium – Na
Potassium – K 

The Alkali Metals
The alkali metals are:
Lithium – Li
Sodium – Na
Potassium – K
Rubidium – Rb 

The Alkali Metals
The alkali metals are:
Lithium – Li
Sodium – Na
Potassium – K
Rubidium – Rb
Caesium – Cs 
(Francium – Fr)

The Alkali Metals
Properties:
The Group 1 metals are good conductors of electricity, malleable
and their freshly cut surface has a typical metallic lustre. The
melting points and densities of the Group 1 metals are
summarised in the table below:
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Question:
Look at the melting point of caesium. What would you observe if
you held a small piece of caesium in your hand?
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Answer:
The body temperature of a healthy human being is 37.0 C. This
is greater than the melting point of caesium, and so the caesium
metal would melt if you were to hold it in your hand.
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Question:
What are the trends or patterns in the melting points and densities
of the Group 1 metals?
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Answer:
On descending Group 1 of the Periodic Table, the melting points
of the elements decrease and the densities of the elements
increase.
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Question:
Look at the densities of lithium sodium and potassium. What
would you observe if you were to add a small piece of lithium,
sodium or potassium to a trough of water?
Hint: the density of water is 1.0 g cm
-3
.
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Answer:
Lithium, sodium and potassium are all less dense than water
(their densities are all less than 1.0 g cm
-3
) and so the first three
Group 1 metals will all float on the surface of water.
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Question:
Would you expect the Group 1 metals to be hard or soft? Briefly
explain your answer.
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Answer:
The Group 1 metals are very soft compared to other metals such
as iron. The Group 1 metals have low melting points, which
indicates that their metallic bonds are relatively weak.
Element Melting Point / C Density / g cm
-3

Lithium – Li 180.0 0.53
Sodium – Na 97.8 0.97
Potassium – K 63.7 0.86
Rubidium – Rb 38.9 1.53
Caesium – Cs 28.7 1.90
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
Watch the reaction of lithium reacting with cold water, and then
answer the following questions:
 What do you observe when lithium is added to a trough of cold
water?
 Suggest an identity for the gas that is produced when lithium reacts
with cold water? What is the chemical test for this gas?
 Is the solution formed at the end of the reaction acidic or alkaline?
 Write a word equation for the reaction between lithium and cold
water.
 Write a balanced chemical equation for the reaction between lithium
and cold water.
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
The reaction of lithium with cold water:
 Lithium floats on the surface of the water and moves about on the
surface of the water. A gas is produced (effervescence). A “hissing”
sound is heard.
 The reaction between lithium and water produces a solution of
lithium hydroxide which is alkaline. This alkaline solution will turn
universal indicator solution blue / purple.
 The reaction between lithium and water produces hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen gas extinguishes a burning splint with a squeaky “pop”.
 lithium + water  lithium hydroxide + hydrogen
 2Li
(s)
+ 2H
2
O
(l)
 2LiOH
(aq)
+ H
2(g)

The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
Watch the reaction of sodium reacting with cold water, and then
answer the following questions:
 What do you observe when sodium is added to a trough of cold
water?
 Suggest an identity for the gas that is produced when sodium
reacts with cold water? What is the chemical test for this gas?
 Is the solution formed at the end of the reaction acidic or alkaline?
 Write a word equation for the reaction between sodium and cold
water.
Write a balanced chemical equation for the reaction between
sodium and cold water.
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
The reaction of sodium with cold water:
 Sodium floats on the surface of the water and moves about on the
surface of the water. A gas is produced (effervescence). A “hissing”
sound is heard. Sparks are observed. A yellow flame is observed.
 The reaction between sodium and water produces a solution of
sodium hydroxide which is alkaline. This alkaline solution will turn
universal indicator solution blue / purple.
 The reaction between sodium and water produces hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen gas extinguishes a burning splint with a squeaky “pop”.
 sodium + water  sodium hydroxide + hydrogen
 2Na
(s)
+ 2H
2
O
(l)
 2NaOH
(aq)
+ H
2(g)

The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
Watch the reaction of potassium reacting with cold water, and then
answer the following questions:
 What do you observe when potassium is added to a trough of cold
water?
 Suggest an identity for the gas that is produced when potassium
reacts with cold water? What is the chemical test for this gas?
 Is the solution formed at the end of the reaction acidic or alkaline?
 Write a word equation for the reaction between potassium and cold
water.
 Write a balanced chemical equation for the reaction between
potassium and cold water.
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
The reaction of potassium with cold water:
 Potassium floats on the surface of the water and moves about on the
surface of the water. A gas is produced (effervescence). A “hissing”
sound is heard. Sparks are observed. A lilac flame is observed.
 The reaction between potassium and water produces a solution of
potassium hydroxide which is alkaline. This alkaline solution will turn
universal indicator solution blue / purple.
 The reaction between potassium and water produces hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen gas extinguishes a burning splint with a squeaky “pop”.
 potassium + water  potassium hydroxide + hydrogen
 2K
(s)
+ 2H
2
O
(l)
 2KOH
(aq)
+ H
2(g)

The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
In what ways are the reactions between lithium, sodium, potassium
and water the same? In what ways are the reactions between lithium,
sodium, potassium and water different?
Same Different
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
In what ways are the reactions between lithium, sodium, potassium
and water the same? In what ways are the reactions between lithium,
sodium, potassium and water different?
Same Different
 Li, Na and K float on water.
 Li, Na and K move about on the
surface of the water.
 Effervescence is observed.
 “Hissing” sound is heard.
 Alkaline solution produced.

 For Li, no flame is observed.
 For Na, the hydrogen gas burns with
a yellow flame. The reaction is faster
than the reaction between Li and
water.
 For K, the hydrogen gas burns with a
lilac flame. The reaction is faster than
the reaction between Na and water.
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water

 Use your observations from the previous experiments to
arrange the Group 1 metals in order of reactivity:

Least reactive: __________
__________
Most reactive: __________
sodium
potassium
lithium
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
Question:
 What is the trend or pattern in the reactivity of the Group 1
metals?
Answer:
 The reactivity of the Group 1 metals increases while
descending the Group.
The Alkali Metals
Reactions of the Group 1 Metals with Water
Question:
 What would you expect to see when the Group 1 metal
caesium is added to a trough of cold water?
Answer:
 A very vigorous reaction. An explosion!
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
The reactivity of the Group 1 metals increases while
descending the Group. The Group 1 metals all react by
losing their single valence electron, resulting in the formation
of an ion with a single positive charge.
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
The reactivity of the Group 1 metals increases while
descending the Group. The Group 1 metals all react by
losing their single valence electron, resulting in the formation
of an ion with a single positive charge.
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
While descending Group 1, the valence shell is removed
further and further from the nucleus of the atom due to the
addition of a complete, new electron shell.
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
The further the valence shell is from the nucleus of the
atom, the weaker the force of attraction between the
positive nucleus and the single negative valence electron.
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
This means that, while descending Group 1, it becomes increasingly
more difficult for the positive nucleus to attract and hold on to the single
negative electron in the valence shell of the atom. While descending
Group 1, less energy is required to remove the single valence electron
from an atom of the Group 1 metal, and the reactivity of the Group 1
metals consequently increases.
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
In addition to this, while descending Group 1, the single
negative valence electron becomes more shielded from the
attractive force of the positive nucleus by the increasing
number of electron shells in between the nucleus and the
valence shell.
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
This also makes it more difficult for the positive nucleus to
attract and hold onto the single negative electron in the
valence shell of the atom. Less energy is required to
remove the single negative valence electron and the
reactivity of the Group 1 metals consequently increases on
descending the Group.
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
Reactivity
Increases
Lithium
Least Reactive
The valence shell is close to the nucleus
and is not very well shielded. The force of
attraction between the positive nucleus
and single valence electron is strong. It is
difficult to remove the single valence
electron from the atom.
Sodium
Potassium
Most Reactive
The valence shell is far from the nucleus
and is well shielded. The force of
attraction between the positive nucleus
and single valence electron is weak. The
single valence electron is easily removed
from the atom.
Rubidium
Caesium
The Alkali Metals
Reactivity of the Group 1 Metals
Element
First Ionization
Energy / kJ mol
–1

Lithium 519
Sodium 494
Potassium 418
Rubidium 402
Caesium 376
The table on the left gives the first
ionization energy for the elements in
Group 1 of the Periodic Table. First
ionization energy is the energy
required to convert 1 mole of atoms
in the gas phase to one mole of ions,
each with a single positive charge, in
the gas phase:
E
(g)
 E
+
(g)
+ e

The lower the first ionization energy,
the more easily an electron is
removed from the valence shell, and
so the more reactive the Group 1
metal.