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Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.


1. Group 2 elements are known as ___________________________ or sblock elements as their valence electrons are in s orbitals.
2. The Group 2 elements are
3. Some information of the Group 2 elements is listed in the table






4. All have valence shell electronic configuration of
5. They are all ____________________________ and are not found in the
free elemental states in nature.
6. In their pure state, they have a silver colour but tarnish rapidly
in air due to the formation of an oxide layer on the metals surface.
Example :
7. They are soft and can be easily cut with a knife.

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

8. The Group 2 elements give characteristic flame test :
Colour of





Physical Properties
1. Atomic radius _______________________ down the group as the
outermost electrons are in the shells further from the nucleus and
the screening effect of inner electrons increases.

2. Ionic radius (of M2+) increases down the group (same

reason as for increase in atomic radius). Ionic radius is less then the
original atom as the nuclear charge exceeds the electronic charge.

3. Melting points generally decrease down the group as

melting bonding gets weaker due to increased atomic size (the
number of delocalized electrons per atom is the same). However,
different crystalline structures can also affect the melting point.
(Note : The melting point of magnesium is lower than that of

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

4. Ionisation energies (1st and 2nd) are relatively low and
decreases down the group (due to increasing size and increasing
shielding effect of inner electrons).

5. Electronegativity increases down the group as increased

size and increased screening effect make any shared pair of
electrons less strongly attracted to the nucleus.

Chemical Properties


(a) The group 2 elements are typical metals and are very
reactive, powerful reducing agents.

(b) They form mostly ionic compounds containing M2+ ions

except for some covalent compounds formed by beryllium; and only
have the oxidation number +2 in all their compounds.
(c) On going down the group, the elements generally become
more reactive because as proton number increases, the atomic
radius increases, the ionization energy decreses, and atom

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

loses its electrons more readily to form the M2+ ion. So the metals
become more electropositive.

2. Reaction with Water

(a) The reactivity of the elements with water increases
down the group. As the elements become more electropositive
their reducing power increases; reducing water to hydrogen
and forming their hydroxides or oxides.
(b) (i) Beryllium does not react with cold water. (will react
slowly with steam at very high temperature)

(ii) Heated magnesium reacts rapidly with steam to form

magnesium oxide and hydrogen.

(iii) Calcium reacts very slowly in cold water but rapidly with hot
water to form the sparingly soluble calcium hydroxide and

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

(iv) Strontium and barium react vigorously with cold water to
form their respective hydroxide solution and hydrogen.

3. Reaction with oxygen

(a) The metal (when heated) burn in air to form the oxides
which are white solids.
General equation :
(b) Reactivity increases down the group. Fine barium powder
will burn
spontaneously in air, (Barium is normally stored in paraffin

(c) Due to the decreasing polarizing power of the cation

down the group, the formation of peroxides becomes possible.
Strontium and barium from SrO2 and BaO2 respectively with excess
oxygen but magnesium does not.

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

(d) Properties of the oxides
(i) the oxides are all basic (except BeO which is
(ii) the solubility of the oxides in water increases down
the group :

Trend in thermal stability of the Nitrates, Carbonates and

Hydroxides of Group 2 elements
All nitrates, carbonates and hydroxides of the Group 2
elements decompose when heated strongly. Thermal stability
increases down the group, that is ease of thermal
decomposition decreases.
1. Nitrates undergo thermal decomposition to form the
corresponding oxide,
nitrogen dioxide gas and oxygen.

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

Explanation :
1. (a) Thermal decomposition occurs due to the polarization of
the large anion by the Group 2 cation of high charge density.
(b) Polarisation distorts the electron cloud and weakens
bonds, resulting in decomposition.
For example, the large carbonate ion decomposes as
shown below
Polarisation occurs when a small cation distorts the electron cloud of
a large anion. The polarizing effect is greastest between a small
cation with a high charge (high charge density) and a large anion.
2. (a) The thermal stability of Group 2 compounds increases
down the group from Be to Ba. On descending the group,
temperatures required to decompose the compounds increase.
(b) Reason :
(i) the size of Group 2 cations increases down the
group. As all the ions have 2+ charges, the charge density and
hence the polarizing power of the

cations also decreases

down the group.

(ii) When the polarization of large anions decreases,
they are not as easy decomposed.
(c) The compounds of beryllium are the least stable and
undergo the thermal decomposition most easily.




Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.


3. (a) When the nitrates, carbonates and hydroxides of the

elements are heated, the metal oxides are formed because they
are more stable.
(b) Reasons for extra stability of the metal oxide:
(i) The oxide ion, O2-, is smaller and not as easily
polarized compared to the bigger NO3- , CO32- and OH- ions.
(ii) The ionic bond between the cation (M2+) and the
smaller oxide ion will be stronger resulting in a higher lattice
energy for the metal oxide.

Solubility Of Sulphates
1. Sulphates of Group 2 elements are formed when the basic
oxides react with
sulphuric acid. The sulphate has the general formula MSO4 (e.g.
MgSO4 ,
2. The solubility of the sulphates decreases down the group.

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

sulphate is very soluble in water, but barium sulphate is very
soluble (insoluble).
3. The solubility of an ionic compound depends on two factors :
(a) The lattice energy of the ionic solid
(b) The enthalpy of hydration (or hydration energy) of the
carbon anion.

(a) A higher lattice energy will result in a decrease in

(i) Energy is required to break the solid lattice apart into
its free ions.
M2+X2-(s) M2+(g) + X2-(g)
This process is endothermic and the amount of energy
required per mole of compound is equivalent to its lattice energy.
(Lattice energy is defined as the energy evolved
(exothermic) when 1 mol of an ionic lattice is formed from its
constituent gaseous ions).
(ii) Lattice energy increases when the size of the ion(s)
decreases, the charge on the ion(s) increases; and its charge
density increases as more energy is required to break the
stronger ionic bonds that hold the ions together.
(b) A higher enthalpy will result in an increase in
(i) When an ionic compound dissolves, the free ions
become hydrated by water molecules, heat energy is given
out. the energy involved is the

enthalpy of hydration.

(ii) Enthalpy of hydration increases when the size of the

ion decreases, the charge on the ion increases; and its charge
density increases.

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

5. (a) Going down the group, the size of the M2+ ion
increases and charge density decreases. Hence both the lattice
energy and the enthalpy oh hydration decrease.
(b) However, for the sulphates of the Group 2 elements, the
decrease in lattice energy down the group is very small. This
is because the size of the sulphate
ion is very large compared to the size of the cation M2+.
So the decrease in lattice energy of the sulphate down the
group is small and
will not contribute much to its solubility.
(c) However the increase in ionic size of the cations from
Be2+ to Ba2+ causes a
large decrease in the enthalpy of hydration of the
cations down the group.
A decrease in enthalpy of hydration causes the
solubility of the sulphates to
(d) In summary, going down Group 2, the enthalpy of the
hydration of the cations
on the lattice energy decrease because the size of the
cations increases and the
charge density decreases. However, the enthalpy of
hydration decreases
much more than the lattice energy. Hence the
solubility of the sulphates
decreases down the group.
Anomalous Properties of Beryllium
1. Some of the properties of beryllium are more similar to the
properties of
aluminium (Group 13) tha those of the elements of Group 2.
These properties
atypical of the Group 2 elements arise due to

Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.

(a) the small atomic radius of Be resulting in its very high
ionization energy.
(b) the high charge density of the Be2+ ion giving it a high
polarizing power. As a result, beryllium forms covalent
compounds as well as ionic compounds with covalent
(c) the high charge density of the Be2+ ion also enables it to
attract lone pair
electrons from ligands to form complex ion.
(d) the electronegativity of be is equal to that of aluminium.
2. Beryllium chloride is a covalent solid with low melting point
whereas all the other
chlorides of Group 2 elements are ionic compounds.
At room temperature beryllium chlorides exists as Be2Cl44It Hydrolyses in water forming fumes of HCl
3. Beryllium oxides is amphoteric while all the other oxides of
Group 2 elements are
4. Beryllium forms complex ions such as [BeF4]2- and [Be(OH)4]2but the elements of
Group 2 do not.
5. Beryllium metal reacts with hot concentrated sodium hydroxide
to form salt sodium
beryllate and hydrogen.


Chemistry Sem 2: Group 2 Ms.