The reactivity series. Image credit

The reactivity series. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Experiment: Predicting reactions of a metal using the reactivity series

  • Metals do not react with water and air at the same rate
  • The rate at which they react differs from metal to metal
  • Some metals react more readily and vigorously with air and water for example calcium and magnesium
  • Some metals like iron react at a much slower rate
  • Some metals like copper hardily react with air, water or acids
  • The rate at which metals react with water and air can be used to put them in order of how they readily react
  • Very reactive metals are listed first and the metals are listed in decreasing order of reactivity
  • This is known as the reactivity series
  • Metals at the top of the series are the most reactive metals

The reactivity series

  1. Potassium
  2. Sodium
  3. Calcium
  4. Magnesium
  5. Aluminum
  6. Zinc
  7. Iron
  8. Tin
  9. Lead
  10. Copper
  11. Chromium
  12. Silver
  13. Gold
  14. Platinum

NB In this series metals are listed in an order of decreasing reactivity with Potassium being the most reactive and Platinum the least reactive

  • If the position of a metal in the reactivity series is known
  • Its reactions can be predicted
  • If the reactions of a metal can be known it can thus be placed in a series

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page.