Reactivity Series

Metals tend to lose electrons from their outermost shell during chemical reactions to achieve stability. For example, lithium has three electrons in total, with one in its outer shell. It becomes stable by losing that one electron.

Diagram showing the electronic configuration of lithium, with three electrons in total and one in its outer shell

Similarly, aluminium has 13 electrons in total, with three in its outer shell. It achieves stability by losing these three electrons.

Diagram showing the electronic configuration of aluminium, with thirteen electrons in total and three in its outer shell

Metals can be classified as either reactive or unreactive, based on their tendency to undergo chemical reactions. Potassium is an example of a highly reactive metal, whereas platinum is an example of a relatively unreactive metal.

The reactivity of metals can be organised into a reactivity series, with the most reactive metals at the top and the least reactive at the bottom.

An educational diagram illustrating the reactivity series of metals with an upward pointing arrow on the left, indicating an increase in reactivity. Metals are listed on the right in descending order, starting with Potassium at the top, demonstrating the highest reactivity, down to Platinum at the bottom, showing the least reactivity.

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