The reactivity series

  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Lithium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Aluminium
  • Carbon
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Hydrogen
  • Copper

ElementReaction with water Potassium Violently Sodium Very quickly Lithium Quickly Calcium More slowly ElementReaction with dilute acids Calcium Very quickly Magnesium Quickly Zinc More slowly Iron More slowly than zinc Copper Very slowly Silver Barely reacts Gold Does not react

Note that zinc and iron can be displaced from their oxides using carbon but not using hydrogen. However, copper can be extracted using carbon or hydrogen.


A more reactive metal will displace a less reactive metal from acompound. The thermite reaction is a good example of this. It is used to produce white hot molten (liquid) iron in remote locations for welding. A lot of heat is needed to start the reaction, but then


No comments have yet been made