Location on the Periodic Table
The alkali metals are the elements located in Group IA of the periodic table. The alkali metals are lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, and francium.
Alkali Metal Properties
The alkali metals exhibit many of the physical properties common to metals, although their densities are lower than those of other metals. Alkali metals have one electron in their outer shell, which is loosely bound. This gives them the largest atomic radii of the elements in their respective periods. Their low ionization energies result in their metallic properties and high reactivities. An alkali metal can easily lose its valence electron to form the univalent cation. Alkali metals have low electronegativities. They react readily with nonmetals, particularly halogens.
Summary of Common Properties
- Lower densities than other metals
- One loosely bound valence electron
- Largest atomic radii in their periods
- Low ionization energies
- Low electronegativities
- Highly reactive