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Alkali metal

The Alkali metals are a chemical series. They are the elements in Group 1 of the Periodic Table - Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Caesium and Francium.

The alkali metals are silvery colored, soft, low density metals, which react readily with halogens to form ionic salts, and with water to form strongly alkaline (basic) hydroxides. These elements all have one electron in their outermost shell, so the energetically preferred state of achieving a filled electron shell is to lose one electron to form a singly charged positive ion.

Hydrogen, with a solitary electron, nominally belongs in the alkali metals group. However, removal of that single electron requires considerably more energy than for the other alkali metals. Like the halogens, only one additional electron is required to fill in the outermost shell of the hydrogen atom, so hydrogen can be regarded in some respects as behaving like a halogen; its elemental form is a diatomic gas, and it can even form salts (called hydrides) with the alkali metals, where the metal has donated an electron to the hydrogen, almost as if hydrogen were actually a halogen.



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