Alkali metal

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Series of alkali metals, stored in mineral oil to prevent oxidation. ("Natrium" is sodium.)

The alkali metals are a group of chemical elements in the periodic table with very similar properties: they are all shiny, soft, silvery, highly reactive metals at standard temperature and pressure and readily lose their outermost electron to form cations with charge +1. They can all be cut easily with a knife due to their softness, exposing a shiny surface that tarnishes rapidly in air due to oxidation. Because of their high reactivity, they must be stored under oil in sealed glass ampoules to prevent reaction with air. In the modern IUPAC nomenclature, the alkali metals comprise the group 1 elements, excluding hydrogen (H), which is nominally a group 1 element but not normally considered to be an alkali metal as it rarely exhibits behaviour comparable to that of the alkali metals. All the alkali metals react with water, with the heavier alkali metals reacting more vigorously than the lighter ones.

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