The properties of metals and alloys

Reactions of metals

Different metals can react with acid, water and oxygen. How reactive a metal is determines which reactions the metal participates in. Only the most reactive metals will react with water, but more will react with acid and even more with oxygen. Metals can be ordered into a reactivity series, where they are ranked from most reactive to least reactive.

From very reactive to very unreactive, the metals run as follows: potassium, sodium, lithium, calcium, magnesium, aluminium, zinc, iron, tin, lead, copper, mercury, silver and gold. Potassium, sodium, lithium and calcium will react with water, acids and oxygen. Magnesium, aluminium, zinc, iron, tin and lead will not react with water, but will react with acids and with oxygen. Copper, mercury and silver will not react with water or acids, but will react with oxygen. Gold will not react with water, acids or oxygen.The reactivity series