# Why do lithium and sodium corrode so easily?

I want to know what is the phenomenon and explanation behind this corrosion?

What is the reaction?

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Could you improve your question by including what you know and don't know about these metals and about corrosion? It would help use generate a better answer. – Ben Norris Nov 8 '12 at 11:57

$$\ce{2Li + 2H2O -> 2LiOH + H2}$$ $$\ce{2LiOH + CO2 -> Li2CO3 + H2O}$$  $$\ce{4Li + O2 -> 2Li2O}$$ $$\ce{Li2O + CO2 -> Li2CO3}$$ $$\ce{6Li + N2 -> 2Li3N}$$ Lithium and sodium are reacting with the gases in the air; a destructive physical process.

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welcome to chemistry.stackexchange.com. We have a means to input chemical equations into our posts so that they look nice. Take a look at this post on the meta: meta.chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/86/…. – Ben Norris Nov 8 '12 at 12:01
A better answer would also include why these metals (and other alkali metals) do these reactions and why other metals (iron, tungsten, cobalt, etc) don't undergo these reactions (or do so much more slowly). – Ben Norris Nov 8 '12 at 12:03