Most Reactive Elements Known To Man

Illustration of Positive Ions being attracted to Negative Ions

This site consists of a number of elements which I have concluded are the most reactive elements known to man. There are descriptions of these elements and some of their most common uses and how they react with certain substances.

Why Does An Element React?

The reasons atoms, in any element, react with each other is to reach a state where their valence (outer) electron shells are full. A full valence shell is a stable electron configuration and all atoms want to reach this state.

To illustrate this let's look at the reaction of Sodium with Chlorine. In their atomic states, Sodium has one valence electron and Chlorine seven:

sodium-atom chlorine-atom
Sodium Chlorine

In order to reach eight electrons in its valence shell, Chlorine, with seven valence electrons, needs one additional electron. Once it does this it is stable.

At first it appears that Sodium needs seven additional electrons to complete its valence shell. But this would give Sodium a -7 electrical charge and make it extremely unstable due to the number of electrons (negative charges) relative to the number of protons (positive charges). However, it is much easier for Sodium to give up its one valence electron and become a +1 ion. Having done this, the Sodium atom empties its 3rd electron shell and now, its 2nd shell, the outermost shell that contains electrons, is filled. In this way it manages to fill its valence shell and become stable:

Na+Cl --- Sodium Chloride

Sodium Chloride

The 3 Most Reactive Elements are:

Read on to find out more about each of these elements.

(Go to Acknowledgments.)

Author: Akikur Rahman (document modification date: 28th May 2004)

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