Alkali Metals

By: Becky Stone, Courtney Scott, and Jessica Smith

The Alkali Metals are the first group in the periodic table. They include Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium, and Francium. The Alkali Metals have closer similarities between the elements than in any other group of the periodic table.  For example each element shares the physical characteristics of being soft and silvery in color. One caution about these metals, however, is they are highly reactive. In fact they are too reactive to be found free in nature.  
The group of elements highlighted in dark blue are the alkali elements.

Click on the table to start exploring each of the Alkali metals!

1.      Alkali Metals constitute group 1 of the Periodic Table (Other than Hydrogen)They are named Alkali Metals because when they are mixed with water they form special solutions called alkaline solutions.  “Alkaline” means they have a pH of greater than 7 – they make basic solutions – not acids.  (We will study acids, bases and pH soon)

2.      Alkali Metals include Lithium (Li), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Rubidium (Rb), Cesium (Cs), and Francium (Fr).

3.      Alkali Metals have one electron in the outer shell that is easily given off.

4.      Alkali Metals become +1 charged cations (any positively charged ion is called a cation) when they give away an electron.

5.      Alkali Metals react violently with water and give off flammable hydrogen.

6.      Alkali Metals form alkaline (basic) solutions when combined with water.

7.      Alkali Metals form ionic bonds with nonmetals. (They give up the outer electron.)


As we move down the group (from Li to Fr) we find the following trends:
  • 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 energy)