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Elements for Kids

Alkaline Earth Metals

The alkaline earth metals are a group of elements in the periodic table. They are all in the second column of the periodic table. They are sometimes referred to as the group 2 elements.

What elements are alkaline earth metals?

The elements of the alkaline earth metals include beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium. Click the links or see below for more details on each.

What are the similar properties of alkaline earth metals?

Alkaline earth metals share many similar properties including:
  • They are silvery, shiny, and relatively soft metals.
  • They are fairly reactive under standard conditions.
  • They have two outer valence electrons which they readily lose.
  • They all occur in nature, but are only found in compounds and minerals, not in their elemental forms.
  • They react with halogens to form compounds called halides.
  • All of them except beryllium react strongly with water.
  • They tend to form ionic bonds, except for beryllium which forms covalent bonds.
Order of Abundance

The most abundant of the alkaline earth metals on Earth is calcium which is the fifth most abundant element in the Earth's crust. Here is the list in order:
  1. Calcium
  2. Magnesium
  3. Barium
  4. Strontium
  5. Beryllium
  6. Radium
Interesting Facts about Alkaline Earth Metals
  • They burn with various colored flames as follows: beryllium (white), magnesium (bright white), calcium (red), strontium (crimson), barium (green), and radium (red).
  • The name "alkaline earths" comes from an old name for the oxides of the elements. They are called alkaline because they form solutions with a pH greater than 7, making them bases or "alkaline."
  • Radium is formed from the decay of uranium. It is very radioactive and is dangerous to handle.
  • Calcium and magnesium are important for animal and plant life. Calcium plays an important role in helping us to build strong bones and magnesium is used to help regulate the body's temperature.
  • English chemist Sir Humphry Davy was the first to isolate many of the alkaline earth metals including calcium, strontium, magnesium, and barium.
  • Radium was discovered by scientists Marie and Pierre Curie.
  • Radium, barium, and strontium have few industrial applications, while magnesium and calcium have many uses in manufacturing and industry.




More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


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