metals react with oxygen or water more readily than others. Some metals are so reactive
they will react with water to produce hydrogen gas. Even aluminium, which is used to make cooking pots and boats, is a very reactive metal that reacts with water to form hydrogen gas. Click to see how reactive aluminium is.
Sodium is one of the most reactive metals that reacts vigorously with water to release heat and produce hydrogen gas. The reaction releases so much energy that the hydrogen gas ignites.
View the video of sodium reacting in water. It is unlikely that you will find pure sodium in nature. Iron is reactive but not as reactive as sodium.
The table on the right shows the different metals in order of reactivity with the most reactive on top.
Gold been the least reactive of the metals shown can be found in its elemental form in nature.
The most reactive metals are found on the left of the periodic table, in the blue column, known as the alkali metals. Their reactivity increases as we go down column (group) one, shown in blue. Click to see how the reactivity of group one metals increases down a group.
The red column is also composed of reactive metals known as alkaline earth metals and their reactivity also increases as we move down the column.
|Hydrogen is used as a fuel to power the Space Shuttle into space. It is stored in liquid form along with oxygen in the external fuel tank.
What metals are not very reactive? (think of what metals are found in pure form in nature)
Copper, silver and gold are metals that are found in the periodic table in the same column. Does their reactivity increase as we move down the column?
Which is more reactive francium or lithium? Explain.
Galvanising is a process that involves covering sheets of iron with zinc and is used to protect iron from rusting.
Where is hydrogen widely used today?
What is formed when liquid hydrogen burns in oxygen?
Why must hydrogen and oxygen be stored in liquid form in the external fuel tank?