Alkali metals and air

Demonstration of the behavior of alkali metals in air

YouTube

Alkali Metals - 16 Reaction of potassium with the air

by Royal Society Of Chemistry

Alkali Metals - 10 Reactions of lithium with air

by Royal Society Of Chemistry

Alkali Metals - 14 Reaction of sodium with the air

by Royal Society Of Chemistry

Alkali Metals - 19 Reactions of rubidium and caesium with the air

by Royal Society Of Chemistry

Group 1 - The Alkali Metals

by Jon Dicks

Reactions of group 1 metals

by Royal Society Of Chemistry

Щелочные металлы

by Этанол Спирт

Safety

Wear lab gloves and eye protection. Avoid contact of alkali metals with skin.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

4Me + O2 → 2Me2O

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Take a piece of alkali metal with tweezers.
  2. Cut it. Initially shiny metal surface quickly dims.

Scientific background

Alkali metals are very reactive. In contact with air the metal reacts with oxygen and forms an oxide. Thus oxide film is formed on the surface of the metal.

In the series from lithium to caesium the reactivity increases and the metal surface dims more quickly. Rubidium and caesium give sparks if you tap on them with a glass rod.

Danger:
Coolness:
Difficulty:

Published on 14 June 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst