Why do the alkali metals have to be stored under oil?

1 Answer
Jan 5, 2017

Because they are highly sensitive to air-borne moisture and air.


The oil acts as a barrier, or protective layer to air-borne moisture. When you cut a surface of the metal you see a shiny layer that tarnishes readily.

#Na(s) + H_2O(g) rarr NaOH(s) + 1/2H_2(g)#