Topic: Alkali metals & halogens

1:18 understand how elements are arranged in the Periodic Table: in order of atomic number, in groups and periods

The elements in the Periodic Table are arranged in order of increasing atomic number.


Image result for periodic table groups and periods

Columns are called Groups. They indicate the number of electrons in the outer shell of an atom.

Rows are called Periods. They indicate the number of shells (energy levels) in an atom.

1:19 understand how to deduce the electronic configurations of the first 20 elements from their positions in the Periodic Table

Electrons are found in a series of shells (or energy levels) around the nucleus of an atom.

Each energy level can only hold a certain number of electrons. Low energy levels are always filled up first.

Rules for working out the arrangement (configuration) of electrons:

Example – chlorine (Cl)

1) Use the periodic table to look up the atomic number. Chlorine’s atomic number (number of protons) is 17.

2) Remember the number of protons = number of electrons. Therefore chlorine has 17 electrons.

3) Arrange the electrons in levels (shells):

  • 1st shell can hold a maximum of 2
  • 2nd can hold a maximum of 8
  • 3rd can also hold 8

Therefore the electron arrangement for chlorine (17 electrons in total) will be written as 2,8,7

4) Check to make sure that the electrons add up to the right number

The electron arrangement can also be draw in a diagram.

Electron arrangement for the first 20 elements:

1:20 understand how to use electrical conductivity and the acid-base character of oxides to classify elements as metals or non-metals


  • conduct electricity
  • have oxides which are basic, reacting with acids to give a salt and water


Non – Metals

  • do not conduct electricity (except for graphite)
  • have oxides which are acidic or neutral


2:01 understand how the similarities in the reactions of lithium, sodium and potassium with water provide evidence for their recognition as a family of elements

Group 1 metals such as potassium, sodium and lithium, react with water to produce a metal hydroxide and hydrogen. For example:

          lithium   +   water   →   lithium hydroxide   +   hydrogen

          2Li (s)   +   2H₂O (l)   →   2LiOH (aq)   +   H₂ (g)

The observations for the reaction of water with either potassium or sodium or lithium have the following similarities:

  1. fizzing (hydrogen is produced)
  2. metal floats and moves around on the water
  3. metal disappears

In each case a metal hydroxide solution is produced.

These similarities in the reactions provide evidence that the 3 metals are in the same group of the Periodic Table (i.e. have the same number of electrons in their outer shell).

2:02 understand how the differences between the reactions of lithium, sodium and potassium with air and water provide evidence for the trend in reactivity in Group 1

Lithium is the first element in group 1 of the Periodic Table. The observations for the reaction of lithium and water are:

  1. fizzing (hydrogen gas is released)
  2. lithium floats and moves around on the water
  3. lithium disappears

Sodium is the second alkali metal in the group. The reaction of sodium and water is more vigorous than lithium’s:

  1. fizzing (hydrogen gas is released)
  2. sodium floats and moves around on the water
  3. sodium melts into a silver-coloured ball
  4. sodium disappears

Potassium is the third alkali metal in the group. The reaction of potassium and water is more vigorous than sodium’s:

  1. fizzing (hydrogen gas is released)
  2. potassium floats and moves around on the water
  3. catches fire with a LILAC flame
  4. potassium disappears

When the group 1 metals react with air they oxidise, showing a similar trend in reactivity as we go down the group of the Periodic Table.

Therefore, as we go down group 1 (increasing atomic number), the elements become more reactive: Li<Na<K<Rb<Cs<Fr

2:03 use knowledge of trends in Group 1 to predict the properties of other alkali metals

From the data in the table, it is possible to deduce the properties of francium from the trends in the other group 1 metals.

For example, we can predict that francium will have a melting point around 20⁰C and a density of just over 2g/cm³.

We can also predict that francium will react violently with water, producing francium hydroxide and hydrogen.

Alkali metalMelting point (⁰C)Density (g/cm³)Reaction with waterProducts
lithium (Li)1810.53fizzinglithium hydroxide + hydrogen
sodium (Na)980.97rapid fizzingsodium hydroxide + hydrogen
potassium (K)630.86vigorous fizzing and lilac flamepotassium hydroxide + hydrogen
rubidium (Rb)391.53?rubidium hydroxide + hydrogen
caesium(Cs)291.88?caesium hydroxide + hydrogen
francium (Fr)????

2:06 use knowledge of trends in Group 7 to predict the properties of other halogens

If you look at the trends in the physical properties of the halogens, Cl2, Br2, I2 you can make predictions about the properties of the other halogens.

ElementColourState at room temp
Fluorine (F2)YellowGas
Astatine (At2)BlackSolid

2:07 understand how displacement reactions involving halogens and halides provide evidence for the trend in reactivity in Group 7

Group 7 elements are called the Halogens. As you go up group 7 (decreasing atomic number), the elements become more reactive. For example, fluorine is the most reactive and astatine is the least reactive.


A more reactive halogen will displace a less reactive halogen, e.g. chlorine will displace bromine:

By reacting a halogen solution with a potassium halide solution and making observations, the order of their reactivity can be deduced:

 Potassium chloride, KCl(aq)Potassium bromide, KBr(aq)Potassium iodide, KI(aq)
Chlorine, Cl2(aq)No changeColourless to orangeColourless to brown
Bromine, Br2(aq)No changeNo changeColourless to brown
Iodine, I2(aq)No changeNo changeNo change

From the above results, chlorine displaces both bromine and iodine, and bromine displaces iodine. Therefore the order of reactivity is: chlorine is more reactive than bromine, which in turn is more reactive than iodine.

2:08 (Triple only) explain the trend in reactivity in Group 7 in terms of electronic configurations

The higher up we go in group 7 (halogens) of the periodic table, the more reactive the element. The explanation concerns how readily these elements form ions, by attracting a passing electron to fill the outer shell.

In fluorine the outer electron shell is very close to the positively charged nucleus, so the attraction between this nucleus and the negatively charged electrons is very strong. This means fluorine is very reactive indeed.

However, for iodine the outer electron shell is much further from the nucleus so the attraction is weaker. This means iodine is less reactive.

2:44 describe tests for these gases: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, ammonia, chlorine

Tests for gases

GasTestResult if gas present
hydrogen (H2)Use a lit splintGas pops
oxygen (O2)Use a glowing splintGlowing splint relights
carbon dioxide (CO2)Bubble the gas through limewaterLimewater turns cloudy
ammonia (NH3)Use red litmus paperTurns damp red litmus paper blue
chlorine (Cl2)Use moist litmus paperTurns moist litmus paper white (bleaches)
Select a set of flashcards to study:


     Skills and equipment

     Remove Flashcards

Section 1: Principles of chemistry

      a) States of matter

      b) Atoms

      c) Atomic structure

     d) Relative formula masses and molar volumes of gases

     e) Chemical formulae and chemical equations

     f) Ionic compounds

     g) Covalent substances

     h) Metallic crystals

     i) Electrolysis

 Section 2: Chemistry of the elements

     a) The Periodic Table

     b) Group 1 elements: lithium, sodium and potassium

     c) Group 7 elements: chlorine, bromine and iodine

     d) Oxygen and oxides

     e) Hydrogen and water

     f) Reactivity series

     g) Tests for ions and gases

Section 3: Organic chemistry

     a) Introduction

     b) Alkanes

     c) Alkenes

     d) Ethanol

Section 4: Physical chemistry

     a) Acids, alkalis and salts

     b) Energetics

     c) Rates of reaction

     d) Equilibria

Section 5: Chemistry in industry

     a) Extraction and uses of metals

     b) Crude oil

     c) Synthetic polymers

     d) The industrial manufacture of chemicals