Reactivity Series of Metals

Reactivity Series of metals in chemistry is experimental, structurally logical progression of series of metals in order of reactivity from highest to lowest. Metals react differently with different substances. It gives a descriptive detail on metal reactions with the extraction of metals from ores and with acids and water.

Some metals are usually are less reactive whereas some metals are highly reactive. The metals which lose electrons readily are less reactive compared to that of metals which forms positive ions. For instance consider the below equation.


In the above equation, Zinc is immersed in a copper sulfate solution; Zinc uproots copper from copper sulphate solution since it is a metal. From this, it is evident that Zinc is more reactive as copper cannot uproot Zinc from Zinc sulphate solution.

The below table illustrates the Reactivity Series of Metals from high order to low order.

Symbol Element
K Potassium ( Highly 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
  • Silver, gold and platinum are metals with least reactivity. They are found in nature.
  • The metals with high reactive series in the above table also indicates that reverse reaction is a bit tough process.
  • Reactions are mostly Exothermic in case of highly reactive metals.
  • The reaction takes place fast in highly reactive metals.
  • Metals which are present above the carbon are extracted using the electrolysis method.
  • Carbon and hydrogen play a vital role in terms of the method that involves metal extraction.

Reaction with Water and Acids

Sodium is a most reactive metal. It produces hydrogen and metal hydroxide when it reacts with cold water.

\( 2Na\left ( S \right )+2H_{2}O\left ( l \right )\rightarrow 2NaOH\left ( aq \right )H_{2}\left ( g \right ) \)

Iron which is present in the middle of the table of the reactive series when reacted with sulfuric acid produces hydrogen and metal salt namely iron sulphate.

\( Fe\left ( s \right )+H_{2}So_{\left ( 4 \right )}\left ( l \right )\rightarrow FeSo_{\left ( 4 \right )}\left ( aq \right )+H_{\left ( 2 \right )}\left ( g \right ) \)

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Practise This Question

One mole of a non - ideal gas undergoes a change of state (2.0 atm, 3.0 L, 95K) (4.0 atm, 5.0L, 245 K) with a change in internal energy ΔU=30.0L atm. The change in enthalpy of the process in L atm is ?