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Alkali metals

Description

These demonstrations show the similarity of the physical and chemical properties of the alkali metals and the trend in reactivity down Group 1 of the Periodic Table.

Credits

:
This is an experiment from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
alkali-metals



Apparatus Chemicals

Goggles or a face shield for the demonstrator, eye protection for the audience

All experiments:

Tweezers or forceps

Filter paper

Beaker (150 cm3)

Ceramic tile

Scalpel or sharp knife to cut the metals

Experiment 1:

Protective gloves (preferably nitrile)

Small iron nail

Power supply (~6 V)

Light bulb in holder (for testing conductivity)

Electrical leads

Petri dishes, with lids

Adhesive tape (to seal Petri dishes)

Experiment 2:

One or more large glass troughs (5 dm3 capacity)

Safety screens, at least 2

Glass or Perspex sheets to cover troughs (optional)

Small bottles of oil containing small pieces of the following metal (Note 1):

Lithium (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE), 5 mm cubes

Sodium (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE), 4 mm cubes

Potassium (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE), 3 mm cubes

Access to:

Ethanol (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE) or Industrial denatured alcohol (IDA) (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, HARMFUL), 150 cm3 (Note 2)

2-methylpropan-2-ol (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE, HARMFUL), 150 cm3 (Note 2)

Detergent, 1 drop

Universal indicator solution (HIGHLY FLAMMABLE)

Refer to Health & Safety and Technical notes section below for additional information.

 



 





These demonstrations show the similarity of the physical and chemical properties of the alkali metals and the trend in reactivity down group 1 of the periodic table.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This is a resource from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry. This collection of over 200 practical activities demonstrates a wide range of chemical concepts and processes. Each activity contains comprehensive information for teachers and technicians, including full technical notes and step-by-step procedures. Practical Chemistry activities accompany Practical Physics and Practical Biology.

The experiment is also part of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Continuing Professional Development course: Chemistry for non-specialists