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Reactivity Series of Metals

Some metals are chemically very reactive but some are less reactive. The metals which lose the electrons readily, forming positive ions are more reactive than other metals which do not lose electrons readily. Displacement reactions, in which a metal can displace another from its salt solution, can be used to find out relative reactivities of metals. For example, Zn in metal displaces copper from copper sulphate solution when zinc rod is immersed in CuSO4 solution.
 
 
But copper cannot displace zinc from ZnSO4 solution. Therefore zinc is more reactive than copper.
 
We can arrange the metals in the order of decreasing reactivity for comparison of relative reactivity.
 
The arrangement of metals in the order of decreasing reactivity on the basis of chemical reaction is called reactivity (or activity) series of metals (table).

 

K

(Potassium) - the most active metal

Ba

(Barium)

Ca

(Calcium)

Na

(Sodium)

Mg

(Magnesium)

Al

(Aluminium)

Zn

(Zinc)

Fe

(Iron)

Ni

(Nickel)

Sn

(Tin)

Pb

(Lead)

H

(Hydrogen)

Cu

(Copper)

Hg

(Mercury)

Ag

(Silver)

Au

(Gold)

Pt

(Platinum) - the least active metal

 

As we come down in the series, the chemical reactivity of metals decreases. Gold, being one of the least reactive metals, has been placed in the bottom of the series. They are usually found in their native (free) form in nature. Thus silver, gold, platinum, etc., occur as such in nature.




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