S Block Elements

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Alkali metals
Cations occur in wide variety of important chemicals The metals are all very reactive when pure
– strongly reducing

Their cations (with the exception of lithium) have low charge densities
– often leads to good solubility and an ability to stabilize anions that can not be formed along with any other cation

Alkali metal physical properties
Element Li Na K Rb Cs Density (gcm-3) 0.53 0.97 0.86 1.53 1.87 Melting point (oC) 180 98 64 39 29 ∆Hatm (kJmol-1) 162 108 90 82 78


Reactivity towards Bronsted acids
The alkali metals react even with weak Bronsted acids such as water
– The rate of reaction depends upon the acidity of the medium

2Na + 2H2O 2Na + 2EtOH 2Na + 2NH3

2NaOH + H2 2NaOEt + H2 2NaNH2 + H2

– very slow reaction in absence of catalyst

Alkali metals and liquid NH3
Alkali metals react very slowly with liquid ammonia
– however, they typically dissolve rapidly in ammonia to form highly colored solutions

Na(s) --(ammonia)--> Na(am) + e-(am)
– fast

2e-(am) + 2NH3

2NH2- + H2

– slow in absence of catalyst


Sodide anions and electrides
2Na(s) + C12H24O6 [Na(C12H24O6)]+Na– complexing or chelating agent is used to stabilize the cation
» Na- is the sodide anion. It is the most stable alkalide ion

Other complexing agents have been used to form solid salts where e- is the anion
– electrides

Lithium is the most reducing of all the alkali metals
– but not the most reactive

Unlike the other alkali metals it reacts with nitrogen to form a nitride Used in aerospace alloys, greases, batteries and antidepression medication Organometallics of lithium are important


From the electrolysis of a CaCl2/NaCl eutectic A very powerful reducing agent Used to produce metals like Ti and Zr
• TiCl4 + 4Na 4NaCl + Ti

Used in the production of antiknock additives
– tetraethyl lead etc.

Oxides of the alkali metals
Lithium forms a simple oxide on…...

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