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The Reactivity Series

The Reaction of Metals with Air (Oxygen).

Potassium, sodium, lithium, calcium and magnesium
react with oxygen and burn in air.
See the alkali metals and alkaline earth metals.

Metals in the reactivity series from aluminium to copper
react with oxygen in the air to form the metal oxide.
Aluminium is the fastest and copper is the slowest of the six.

reacts quickly to form a surface layer
of aluminium oxide.

aluminium + oxygen     arrow   aluminium oxide.
4Al(s)    +    3O2(g)    arrow          2Al2O3(s)

reacts fairly quickly to form zinc oxide.

zinc   +   oxygen         arrow    zinc oxide.
2Zn(s)    +    O2(g)       arrow       2ZnO(s)

reacts slowly at room temperature but quickly if it is heated.

iron    +   oxygen            arrow    iron(III) oxide - see rusting.
4Fe(s)    +  3O2(g)          arrow         2Fe2O3(s)                           

below iron react with oxygen when they are heated in air.

tin   +   oxygen         arrow    tin(II) oxide.
2Sn(s)   +   O2(g)        arrow          2SnO(s)

lead   +   oxygen     arrow    lead(II) oxide.
2Pb(s)    +    O2(g)    arrow            2PbO(s)

copper   +   oxygen     arrow    copper(II) oxide.
2Cu(s)    +    O2(g)    arrow            2CuO(s)

Silver, gold and platinum do not react with oxygen in the air.

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