The alkali metals are the elements elements located furthest to the right on the periodic table: Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, Fr.
# These elements have relatively low melting points. Cesium melts at body temperature, 37oCelsius.
# They are soft enough that they can be cut with a knife.
#they conduct heat and electricity well
|This picture shows the physical properties of sodium
Alkali metals are the most reactive of all groups. They easily give up an electron and are only found in nature as compounds.
They react violently with water.
The alkali metals show the following trends as they move down the group (from Li to Fr):
* All have a single electron in an 's' valence orbital
* The melting point decreases
* The density increases
* The atomic radius increases
* The ionization energy decreases (first ionization
The word "alkali" is derived from an Arabic word meaning "ashes". Many sodium and postassium compounds
were isolated from wood ashes (Na2CO3 and K2CO3 are still occasionally referred to as "soda ash" and "potash").
Lithium is the lightest of all metals
Lithium compounds are used in certain kinds of glass and porcelain products. Lithium is also important in dry-cell batteries
and nuclear reactors.
Sodium has been used as a molten coolant in nuclear reactors and is currently under research for sodium/sulfur batteries.
Industry also uses conpounds of sodium such as sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium carbonate (washing soda) and
Uses of potassium include potassium hydroxide (used in some drain cleaners), potassium superoxide, KO2, which is used
in respiratory equipment and potassium nitrate, used in fertilizers and pyrotechnics.
Rubidium is only used in the manufacture of cathode ray tubes.
An isotope of cesium is used in the atomic clocks.
Francium does not see any signifigant use.