10. Playing with a Full Deck:
       The Periodic Table
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       Chemical Properties: The Alkali Metals

The alkali metals, in Group IA at the left of the table, all have a single electron outside of a filled noble-gas shell. They have low ionization energies, and hence a strong tendency to lose the outer electron and become oxidized to the +1 state. This tendency is so strong (it is stronger for the larger atoms at the bottom of the group) that the alkali metals always occur in nature as +1 ions, never as pure metals. They are found in sea water and brine wells, in deposits of soluble salts such as NaCl and and as cations in many less soluble or insoluble minerals such as the silicates. and make up a little over 3% of the atoms in the crust of the Earth. The heavier alkali metals rubidium and cesium are rarer, but are found in small amounts in KCI and NaCl deposits.

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