Alkaline earth metals: what are they?

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Alkaline earth metals are a group of six metallic elements found in the earth’s crust. They are hard, dense, and have high melting points due to their two valence electrons. They are also very reactive and have special uses, such as beryllium in x-ray machines, magnesium in medicine, calcium in construction, and radium in cancer treatment.

The alkaline earth metals are metallic elements found in the second vertical row of the periodic table. Alkaline earth metals get their name from their reactive properties. When these metals are mixed into solutions, they create a pH above 7, a level that is referred to as alkaline. There are six elements that make up the alkaline earth metals: beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), strontium (Sr), barium (Ba), and radium (Ra).

Alkaline earth metals are found in the earth’s crust, usually in rock structures. The most commonly found elements in the group are magnesium and calcium. Magnesium is found in carnellite, magnesite and dolomite and is the eighth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Calcium is the fifth most abundant element in the crust and is often found in gypsum, limestone and anhydrite.

There are certain properties of the alkaline earth metals that all elements in the group share. All are very hard and dense, and all have higher melting points than most other elements. Each of these properties can be attributed to the fact that their atoms have two valence electrons, which create a strong metallic bond.

Another trait that all alkaline earth metals share is a silvery sheen to their surfaces and their ability to act as a strong conductor of electricity. All elements are also very reactive, so much so that they are rarely found in nature except in compounds with other materials. Each of the alkaline earth metals also has its own special traits which have made it useful in different ways.

Beryllium is a very light metal that is often used for the windows of x-ray machines and in nuclear environments. It is also often combined with other metals, such as copper, to create very strong alloys that don’t spark or corrode easily.

Magnesium is often used as a replacement for aluminum due to its high abundance. It is a very soft metal and can be melted into different shapes very easily. Magnesium also has uses in medicine; both milk of magnesia and Epsom salts are part of magnesium.

Football has many different purposes. Glass, concrete and mortar are all created using calcium. Its properties as an antibacterial agent have also been used in farms or buildings that raise poultry.
Though less common than other metals in the alkali family, strontium and barium are used in the manufacture of vacuum tubes. Radium, the only radioactive element of the group, is used in the treatment of cancer.

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