Interesting Facts About Alkali Metals

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  • Periodic Table

          Chemical elements that are found in Group 1 of the periodic table were called “Alkali metals”. This includes Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Cesium, Rubidium, and Francium. Hydrogen, even though included in the Group 1 is not an Alkali metal.

  • Al Qali

          The word “Alkali” comes from the word “al qali” which means “from ashes”. The elements in Group 1 of the periodic table were given the name of “alkali” because these elements react with water forming hydroxide ions, creating basic solutions called “alkaline solutions”.

  • Flame Colors

          Alkali metals have different flame colors. The differences in colors are caused by their difference in energy among the valence shells which interacts with the wavelength of visible lights. Lithium has a Crimson color; Sodium has a Golden Yellow; Potassium has Red or Violet; and Rubidium and Cesium has the same color of Blue or Violet.

  • Characteristics

          Alkali metals have a very soft texture that they can be cut by a knife. They have relatively low melting and boiling point. Lithium, Sodium, and Potassium floats when put into the water because they are less dense. They also have this silvery color that differentiates them from the other elements in the periodic table.

The following are the Alkali metals found in the Group 1 of the periodic table:

  • Cesium

          Cesium comes from the Latin word caesius, which means “sky-blue”. It was discovered by Robert Bunsen and Gustaff Kirchhoff in 1860 at Durkheim, Germany. Cesium has the symbol of Cs in the periodic table and an Atomic number of 55. It melts at 28.4 C and was the first element to be discovered using the spectroscope.

  • Rubidium

          Rubidium is from the Latin word rubidus, which mean deepest red. It was discovered by Bunsen and Kirchoff by the use spectroscope. It was used in “ion engine” for space vehicles, in making special glasses, and in vacuum tubes. It has the atomic symbol of Rb with 37 as the atomic number.

  • Lithium

          Lithium, pronounced as “ lith’ ee um”, from the Greek word lithos, which means stone, is the lightest of all metals. It is sometimes used as treatment for depression, schizophrenia and mental illness in children. It has a positive effect in our brain that can treat or prevent outbreaks of mania in people with bipolar disorder. Lithium is also used in chargeable batteries and in producing of glass.

  • Potassium

          Potassium from the word Potash is 7th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. It was discovered in 1807 by Humphry Davy. It has the symbol of K in the periodic table and has the atomic number of 19. Nowadays, Potassium is mined in United States, Chile, and Canada. It is mainly used as a fertilizer because it replaces the depleted Potassium of the soil.

  • Sodium

          Sodium comes from the Latin word natria, which means soda. The most common example for Sodium is the Sodium Chloride (NaCl) or what we called “table salt”. It is the 6th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and found within the oceans and many minerals. It has the symbol of (Na) with an atomic number of 11. Sodium is important to the human body; it helps maintain body fluid homeostasis.

  • Francium

          Francium was named after France by Marguerite Perey, an assistant of Marie Curie at the Radium Institute in Paris. It was the last of the known Alkali metals. It has the symbol of Fr in the periodic table with an Atomic number of 87. Francium is the heaviest of all metals and is most significant in Cesium. It is also the least stable of the first 103 elements.

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