Login
Copyright

S-Block Elements on the Periodic Table: Properties & Overview

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Spin Quantum Number: Definition & Example

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Are The S-Block Elements?
  • 1:10 Properties Of S-Block Elements
  • 3:20 Hydrogen And Helium
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth (Nikki) Wyman

Nikki has a master's degree in teaching chemistry and has taught high school chemistry, biology and astronomy.

Take a tour of the s-block of the periodic table and get to know the elements inside. Learn all about the s-block elements, including some of their distinguishing properties, then quiz yourself on your knowledge.

What Are the S-Block Elements?

If the periodic table were a city, the s-block would be a small neighborhood filled with extremely similar houses and properties. Within the periodic table, the s-block is located to the far left and includes all of the elements in the first two columns (columns 1 and 2) plus helium, which is located in the top right corner in column 8A (column 18 on some versions of the periodic table). In the periodic table below, the s-block is colored pink.


Periodic table by block


The s-block elements are the 14 elements contained within these columns. All of the s-block elements are unified by the fact that their valence electrons (outermost electrons) are in an s orbital. The s orbital is spherical and can be occupied by a maximum of two electrons. Elements in column 1 have one electron in the s orbital, and elements in column 2 (plus helium) have two electrons in the s orbital.

The s-block elements include hydrogen (H), helium (He), lithium (Li), beryllium (Be), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), rubidium (Rb), strontium (Sr), cesium (Cs), barium (Ba), francium (Fr) and radium (Ra). The periodic table shows exactly where these elements are within the s-block.


S-block elements on the periodic table


Properties of S-Block Elements

If the elements were houses in our hypothetical s-block neighborhood, they would be very uniform, each one only slightly different than the other. This is markedly different compared to the other neighborhoods on the periodic table, which have a wider variety of houses in many shapes, sizes and colors.

All of the s-block elements are metals. In general, they are shiny, silvery, good conductors of heat and electricity and lose their valence electrons easily. In fact, they lose their trademark s orbital valence electrons so easily that the s-block elements are considered to be some of the most reactive elements on the periodic table.


Sodium, an s-block element, is a silvery and soft metal.
Chucks of sodium metal


The elements in column 1, known collectively as the alkali metals (except hydrogen), always lose their one valence electron to make a +1 ion. These metals are characterized by being silvery, very soft, not very dense and having low melting points. These metals react extremely vigorously with water and even oxygen to produce energy and flammable hydrogen gas. They are kept in mineral oil to reduce the chance of an unwanted reaction or worse, an unwanted explosion.


Like a few other elements in the s-block, potassium reacts energetically with water.
Potassium reacting with water.


The elements in column 2, known as the alkaline earth metals (except helium), always lose their two valence electrons to make a +2 ion. Like the alkali metals, the alkaline earth metals are silvery, shiny and relatively soft. Some of the elements in this column also react vigorously with water and must be stored carefully.

S-block elements are famous for being ingredients in fireworks. The ionic forms of potassium, strontium and barium make appearances in firework displays as the brilliant purples, reds and greens.


S-block elements in action.
Fireworks display


Francium is considered to be the most rare naturally occurring element on earth. It is estimated that there is only ever one atom of Francium present on earth at a time. Francium has a very unstable nucleus and undergoes nuclear decay rapidly. As soon as it exists, it doesn't.

Hydrogen and Helium

As we're wandering around the s-block neighborhood, we keep stumbling upon a couple of houses that don't seem to fit. Hydrogen and helium are gaseous elements that are grouped into the s-block because they have valence electrons in the s-block.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support