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Essential Elements

18 19 alkalI alkalInEEarth mEtalS the violent world of the sblock The first real group of the periodic table is known as the alkali metals, IA the leftmost column below. Soft, silverywhite and very electropositive, they all have a single outer sorbital electron which they enthusiastically lose to form 1 ions. Lithium, the third element, is the lightest metal and floats on water. Sodium, below it, floats and fizzes as it oxidizes, also commonly bonding with chlorine as common salt NaCl. Continuing down the group, potassium is the second lightest metal, oxidizing rapidly in air and bursting into flames when wet. Caesium, the most electropositive element, and rubidium, explode on contact with air. Francium, finally, is radioactive. Moving across slightly we meet group IIA, the rare earth metals, beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium and radium. Slightly less electropositive, they gladly form 2 ions, losing both their outer electrons. They are denser than their group I neighbours, with higher melting and boiling points. A wire dipped in compounds of these elements will produce characteristic colours when held in a flame. Excited electrons jump between orbitals, losing their energy as little packets of light, photons, on the way back down to their normal state. s block
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