Reactivity Series – Reactions of Metals and Water (includes model data and conclusion)


The reactivity of metals with water is an important topic in chemistry, as it helps us understand the behavior of metals and their potential uses in different applications. In this investigation, we will determine the order of reactivity of a series of metals with water.

Materials and Methods:


  • A series of metals (e.g., lithium, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, aluminum, zinc, iron, copper)
  • Distilled water
  • Beakers
  • Tongs
  • Stopwatch


  1. Label a series of beakers with the names of the metals you will be testing.
  2. Fill each beaker with distilled water.
  3. Using tongs, carefully add a small piece of each metal to its corresponding beaker of water.
  4. Observe and record the reaction of each metal with water. Note any changes in color, temperature, and the production of gas bubbles.
  5. Record the time it takes for each metal to completely react with water.
  6. Clean the beakers and tongs thoroughly before testing the next metal.


The following observations were made during the investigation:

MetalObservationsTime to React
LiFizzing, rapid reaction, metal disappears<5 sec
NaFizzing, rapid reaction, metal disappears<5 sec
KFizzing, rapid reaction, metal disappears<5 sec
CaFizzing, rapid reaction, white precipitate forms30 sec
MgFizzing, slow reaction, white precipitate forms2 min
AlFizzing, slow reaction, metal corrodes5 min
ZnFizzing, slow reaction, metal corrodes10 min
FeNo reaction at room temperatureN/A
CuNo reaction at room temperatureN/A


Based on the results of the investigation, we can order the metals in terms of reactivity with water as follows: Li > Na > K > Ca > Mg > Al > Zn > Fe > Cu. This order can be explained by the relative positions of the metals in the periodic table, with the more reactive metals (Li, Na, K) located in the lower left corner and the less reactive metals (Fe, Cu) located in the upper right corner. The reactivity of the metals with water can also be influenced by other factors such as the presence of a protective oxide layer on the metal surface (e.g., Mg, Al).


In this investigation, we determined the order of reactivity of a series of metals with water. The results show that the more reactive metals (Li, Na, K) react rapidly with water, while the less reactive metals (Fe, Cu) do not react at room temperature. This information can be useful in understanding the behavior of metals in different applications and in selecting the most appropriate metal for a given use.

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