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  • The alkali metals are a group in the periodic table consisting of the chemical elements lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, caesium, and francium. This group lies in the s-block of the periodic table as all alkali metals have their outermost electron in an s-orbital: this electron configuration results in their characteristic properties. The alkali metals provide the best example of group trends in properties in the periodic table, with elements exhibiting well-characterized homologous behaviour. The alkali metals have very similar properties: they are all shiny, soft, highly reactive metals at standard temperature and pressure and readily lose their outermost electron to form cations with charge +1. They can all be cut easily with a knife due to their softness, exposing a shiny surface that tarnishes rapidly in air due to oxidation by atmospheric moisture and oxygen. Because of their high reactivity, they must be stored under oil to prevent reaction with air, and are found naturally only in salts and never as the free element.

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