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The Periodic Table

The Alkaline Earth Metals.

What are the Alkaline Earth Metals?

The alkaline earth metals are in group 2 of the periodic table.

The alkaline earth metals are beryllium, magnesium,
calcium, strontium, barium and radium. The chemical reactions
of only magnesium and calcium are studied at GCSE.
For shortcuts to this section, see the alkaline earth metals.

Beryllium is unusual and is not studied at GCSE.
Beryllium would be expected to lose its two outer electrons like
the rest of Group 2 but beryllium is so small that it doesn't like
to let the electrons go. Its compounds have covalent character!

Strontium, barium and radium are all too reactive or unstable to
be used (but barium compounds are studied). All you need
to know about these other elements is that they have the same
chemical properties as magnesium and calcium because
they have the same number of electrons in their outer shell.


What are the Properties of the Alkaline Earth Metals?

1. The alkaline earth metals are all reactive elements,
losing their
2 outer electrons to form a 2+ ion with non-metals.

2. With the exception of magnesium, the alkaline earth metals
have to be stored under oil, or they react with oxygen in the air.

The alkaline earth metals are less reactive than the alkali metals.
Calcium and magnesium are fourth and fifth in the reactivity series.

3. The alkaline earth metals have the common properties of metals,
are silvery-grey in colour and good conductors of heat and electricity.

4. The alkaline earth metals are harder than the alkali metals
and it is difficult to cut them with a knife.

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