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A photo of a lit Bunsen burner is shown. A wooden splint is placed in the flame, and a yellow flame is produced.
Dipping a wire into a solution of a sodium salt and then heating the wire causes emission of a bright yellow light, characteristic of sodium.

Group 2: the alkaline earth metals

The alkaline earth metals (beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium) constitute group 2 of the periodic table. The name alkaline metal comes from the fact that the oxides of the heavier members of the group react with water to form alkaline solutions. The nuclear charge increases when going from group 1 to group 2. Because of this charge increase, the atoms of the alkaline earth metals are smaller and have higher first ionization energies than the alkali metals within the same period. The higher ionization energy makes the alkaline earth metals less reactive than the alkali metals; however, they are still very reactive elements. Their reactivity increases, as expected, with increasing size and decreasing ionization energy. In chemical reactions, these metals readily lose both valence electrons to form compounds in which they exhibit an oxidation state of 2+. Due to their high reactivity, it is common to produce the alkaline earth metals, like the alkali metals, by electrolysis. Even though the ionization energies are low, the two metals with the highest ionization energies (beryllium and magnesium) do form compounds that exhibit some covalent characters. Like the alkali metals, the heavier alkaline earth metals impart color to a flame. As in the case of the alkali metals, this is part of the emission spectrum of these elements. Calcium and strontium produce shades of red, whereas barium produces a green color.

Magnesium is a silver-white metal that is malleable and ductile at high temperatures. Passivation decreases the reactivity of magnesium metal. Upon exposure to air, a tightly adhering layer of magnesium oxycarbonate forms on the surface of the metal and inhibits further reaction. (The carbonate comes from the reaction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.) Magnesium is the lightest of the widely used structural metals, which is why most magnesium production is for lightweight alloys.

Magnesium (shown in [link] ), calcium, strontium, and barium react with water and air. At room temperature, barium shows the most vigorous reaction. The products of the reaction with water are hydrogen and the metal hydroxide. The formation of hydrogen gas indicates that the heavier alkaline earth metals are better reducing agents (more easily oxidized) than is hydrogen. As expected, these metals react with both acids and nonmetals to form ionic compounds. Unlike most salts of the alkali metals, many of the common salts of the alkaline earth metals are insoluble in water because of the high lattice energies of these compounds, containing a divalent metal ion.

Three glass containers with lids are shown in a photo. A plus sign is drawn between the first two containers and a right-facing arrow is drawn between the second and third containers. The left container holds a black granular solid while the center container holds a clear, colorless liquid. The right container holds a clear, pink liquid.
From left to right: Mg( s ), warm water at pH 7, and the resulting solution with a pH greater than 7, as indicated by the pink color of the phenolphthalein indicator. (credit: modification of work by Sahar Atwa)

Questions & Answers

what is aromaticity
Usman Reply
what is caustic soda
Ogbonna Reply
sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
what is distilled water
is simply means a condensed water vapour
advantage and disadvantage of water to human and industry
Abdulrahman Reply
a hydrocarbon contains 7.7 percent by mass of hydrogen and 92.3 percent by mass of carbon
Timothy Reply
how many types of covalent r there
JArim Reply
how many covalent bond r there
they are three 3
TYPES OF COVALENT BOND-POLAR BOND-NON POLAR BOND-DOUBLE BOND-TRIPPLE BOND. There are three types of covalent bond depending upon the number of shared electron pairs. A covalent bond formed by the mutual sharing of one electron pair between two atoms is called a "Single Covalent bond.
what is an atom
Rabiu Reply
why is an atom
u answer me first
Atom is indivisible particles which take place in chemical reactions
what is neck mi nut
Hernandez Reply
what is half reaction?
Makinde Reply
wat is the chemical formular for zinc hydrozide
Ani Reply
what is atomicity
Simbiat Reply
A 45 ml of ph=1,hcl was reacted with a 55l ml of ph=13, naoh solution . what is the final ph
chamini Reply
what is coordination number
coordination number is the number of atoms or ions immediately surrounding a central atom in a complex or crystal
what is isotope
who is the father of chemistry
Roland Reply
Antoine Lavoisier. Father of modern chemistry
What is geometric isomerism
Imoh Reply
pls I don't really know teach me
geometric isomerism are molecules that are locked into their spatial position with respect to one another due to a double Bond or ring structure
Chromatography is a physical method of seperation where by mixtures that are in two phrases are separated
Lexzzy Reply
Practice Key Terms 8

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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