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Extraction Of Alkali Metals

The extraction of group 1 metals cannot be carried out by usual procedures due to the following difficulties :

(i)    These metals cannot be prepared by the reduction of their oxides as elements of these groups are themselves the strongest reducing agents.

(ii)    These elements react with water, therefore, the method of displacing them from their solutions by using elements high in the electrochemical series is not possible.

(iii)    These elements can be prepared by the electrolysis of their aqueous solutions using mercury cathode only wherein they form amalgams but the recovery of the metal form the amalgams quite difficult. Moreover, during electrolysis of aqueous solutions the liberated metal at the cathode stars reacting with water to form metal hydroxide.

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