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Our typical experience is that very few things react with the air around us. However, this is not always true, although many of the reactions are very slow. Here are a selection of the faster ones.

 

Reaction of air with aluminium

Reaction of air with lithium

Reaction of air with magnesium

Reaction of air with potassium

Reaction of air with phosphorus

Reaction of air with sodium

Reaction of air with sulfur

 

 

Most of the time, it is the oxygen in the air that is reacting, and reactions with pure oxygen are even more spectacular.

 

Reaction of oxygen with potassium

Reaction of oxygen with lithium

Reaction of oxygen with sodium in a flask

Reaction of oxygen with sodium in a tube

Reaction of oxygen with magnesium

Reaction of oxygen with aluminium

Reaction of oxygen with sulfur

Reaction of oxygen with phosphorus

Reaction of oxygen with silicon

 

 

In some cases even the less-reactive nitrogen in the air reacts rapidly. Plants do this all the time, but this reaction is not particularly exciting to watch, although it is essential to all life on earth.

 

Reaction of lithium with nitrogen

 

 

Water also reacts rapidly with many elements and simple compounds.

 

Reaction of water with aluminium trichloride

Reaction of water with phosphorus pentachloride

Reaction of water with disulfur dichloride

Reaction of water with silicon tetrachloride

Reaction of water with sodium chloride and magnesium chloride

 

 

Chlorine is a highly reactive gas, and reacts rapidly with many elements. A selection of these reactions are demonstrated.

 

Reaction of chlorine with aluminium

Reaction of chlorine with lithium

Reaction of chlorine with magnesium

Reaction of chlorine with potassium

Reaction of chlorine with phosphorus

Reaction of chlorine with silicon

Reaction of chlorine with sodium in a flask

Reaction of chlorine with sodium in a tube

Reaction of chlorine with sulfur

 

 

Bromine and iodine also undergo interesting reactions.

 

Reaction of bromine with sodium

Reaction of bromine with aluminium

Reaction of iodine with lithium

Reaction of iodine with aluminium

 

These elements, and their preparation, are also interesting and exciting.

 

Laboratory preparation of oxygen

Laboratory preparation of chlorine

Physical states of chlorine

Physical states of bromine

Physical states of iodine