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Why is cesium more reactive than sodium

Why is cesium more reactive than sodium

Cesium and Sodium, two different chemical elements having similar body- centered cubic structure and solid state. In the periodic table, both belonged in the same family of lithium or alkali metals. Other than that, there are more differences between two.

In terms of appearance and characteristics, cesium has a silvery-gold pigment as compared to sodium that has a silvery-white tint.  While sodium is considered to be non-toxic (but may still cause an irritation), cesium has a mild toxicity level and has to be contained in a vacuum to guard it from water and air.

Compared to sodium, cesium is a highly reactive metal and believed to be the most alkaline, or soluble base, of all the elements. It reacts immediately with oxygen which is used to eliminate traces of gas that are present on vacuum tubes and light bulbs. Cesium reacts with halogens forming bromide, chloride, fluoride, and iodide. Cesium also easily reacts with ice and has an explosive reaction when mixed with water that forms the strongest base ever identified.

Cesium, by nature, reacts easily because of its chemical components. Excepting francium, cesium has the biggest atomic radius, highest vapor pressure and density levels, lowest melting and boiling points, and lowest ionization energy among alkali metals. Chemically, cesium almost resembles potassium and rubidium. It also liquefies easily in warm room temperature like gallium and mercury.

As compared to sodium, cesium has more number of electrons, 44 in all. Because of the high number of electron shells, making its atom bigger, cesium’s valence electrons are positioned far away from the positive nucleus. And since the valence electrons are away from the nucleus, the atom is unable to hold its electrons closely together. And upon applying the principle of ionization energy, formerly known as ionization potential, it will only take a little amount of energy to remove electrons away from cesium’s atom that makes it highly reactive.


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