ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alkali metals in jars. Lithium (Li), sodium (Na) & potassium (K) stored under oil. These elemental metals are relatively soft and react rapidly with the water and oxygen in the air. The protective oil layer prevents this from happening. They are not found in elemental form in nature due to their highly reactive nature. Lithium has a low density and floats in oil (as seen). It is used in alloys and to treat manic-depressive disorders. Sodium is most commonly found as table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl). Potassium is mainly used to manufacture fertilizers and liquid detergents.
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