We view two metals belowthat deserve to be exposed come water. The photo on the left is the sodium, which offers a violent reaction as soon as it comes in call with water. The picture on the right is that silver, a steel so unreactive v water the it deserve to be made into drinking vessels.

You are watching: How is the activity series useful in predicting chemical behavior

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Figure (PageIndex1): ~ above the left, sodium reacts with water. ~ above the right, silver- in the kind of cups perform not react through water.

The activity Series

Single-replacement reaction only occur when the element that is doing the replacing is much more reactive than the facet that is being replaced. Therefore, that is helpful to have a perform of elements in order of their loved one reactivities. The activity series is a perform of elements in decreasing bespeak of their reactivity. Since metals replace various other metals, if nonmetals replace various other nonmetals, castle each have a separate activity series. The table below is one activity collection of most usual metals and of the halogens.

Table (PageIndex1): Activity collection of metals in Aqueous options Most energetic (Easily Oxidized—Readily lose Electrons)
lithium Li

These metals displace hydrogen native water Ca(s) + 2H2O(l)→ Ca(OH)2 + H2 (g). These aspects are an extremely reactive and also react conveniently to kind compounds.

potassium K
barium Ba
calcium Ca
sodium Na
These steels displace hydrogen from acids Zn(s) + HCl(aq)→ ZnCl2 + H2(g)
magnesium Mg
aluminum Al
zinc Zn
chromium Cr
iron Fe
cadmium Cd
nickel Ni
tin Sn
lead Pb
hydrogen H
copper Cu These metals do not displace hydrogen from acids or water. These aspects are much more stable, and type compounds much less readily than do those higher in the table.
silver Ag
mercury Hg
platinum Pt
gold Au

Least Active

For a single-replacement reaction, a given aspect is qualified of instead of an aspect that is below it in the task series. This deserve to be offered to suspect if a reaction will certainly occur. Mean that little pieces of the steel nickel were placed into two different aqueous solutions: one of iron (III) nitrate and one of command (II) nitrate. Looking at the activity series, we see that nickel is listed below iron, but over lead. Therefore, the nickel metal will be qualified of replacing the lead in a reaction, yet will not be qualified of replacing iron.

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In the descriptions the accompany the activity series of metals, a given metal is likewise capable of experience the reactions described listed below that section. For example, lithium will certainly react with cold water, instead of hydrogen. It will additionally react with steam and v acids, since that needs a lower level of reactivity.






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