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Cutting a sample of lithium. Footage of a scalpel being used to cut into a sample of the alkali metal lithium. The alkali metals are soft enough to cut with a knife. The hardest of the three stable alkali metal is lithium. These reactive metals are stored under oil to prevent them reacting with oxygen and water vapour in the air. Like all alkali metals, this one oxidises rapidly when exposed to air, as shown by the tarnishing of the exposed cut surface (turning from a bright silvery colour to a darker shade).
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