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Reactivity of metals

A metal is more reactive than another metal if it loses its electrons more easily. Each metal has a different reactivity.

Potassium, sodium and calcium are highly reactive and will react with cold water. Magnesium, zinc and iron do not react with cold water but will react with steam to form metal oxides.

$$$\ce{2K {(s)} + 2H2O {(l)} -> 2KOH {(aq)} + H2 {(g)}}$$$ $$$\ce{Mg {(s)} + H2O {(g)} -> MgO {(s)} + H2 {(g)}}$$$

Lead and all of the metals listed previously react with dilute hydrochloric acid ($$\ce{HCl}$$) in water to form salts.

$$$\ce{Mg {(s)} + 2HCl {(aq)} -> MgCl2 {(aq)} + H2 {(g)}}$$$

Copper and silver each have low reactivity and do not react with cold water, steam or dilute hydrochloric acid ($$\ce{HCl}$$).