The Activity Series
Text Reference: 3.3 (pg. 125 - 128)
We have looked at several reactions:
Fe + CuSO4 → Cu + Fe2(SO4)3
Li + H2O → LiOH + H2
Such experiments reveal trends. The activity
series ranks the relative reactivity of metals.
It allows us to predict if certain chemicals will
undergo single displacement reactions when
mixed: metals near the top are most reactive
and will displacing metals near the bottom.
Q: Which of these will react?
Fe + CuSO4 →
Ni + NaCl →
Li + ZnCO3 →
Al + CuCl2 →
Mg + H2O →
Complete these reactions:
Al + H2O(steam) →
Cu + H2O →
Ca + H2SO4 →
Na + H2O →
Q: Zn + HCl →
H is the only nonmetal listed. H2 may
be displaced from acids or can be
given off when a metal reacts with
H2O (producing H2 + metal hydroxide).
The reaction with H2O depends on
metal reactivity & water temp.
Q: will Mg react with H2O?
• All metals will have a specific place in the
activity series. For simplicity, only the most
common metals are shown.
• The metals near the top of the activity series
are more reactive because their valence
electrons are more easily removed.
• On tests and exams the activity series may
appear as K, Na, … Ag, Au; you must
remember that K is reactive, Au is not.
If the valence of a metal is not indicated in
the question, use its most common valence
(in bold on your periodic table) to determine
the correct chemical formula.
Other Activity Series Information
1. On the next slide, place a check in the corner of
boxes where you think reactions will take place.
2. Get a plastic spot plate and a glass rod.
3. Combine chemicals specified in the chart.
Figure out a way to keep track of the chemicals.
Use a ¼ scoop for solids (the less, the better).
Use 1 squeeze of an eyedropper for solutions.
4. Write chemical equations for chemicals that
reacted. Write NR where there was no reaction.
5. Dump used chemicals into the large f