I am not sure whether to consider the standard reduction potential or ionisation enthalpy. Which of these are more reactive: the lanthanides or aluminium?

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    $\begingroup$ Reactive towards what? $\endgroup$
    – bon
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ That has not been mentioned.The statement says "Lanthanides are more reactive than aluminium,is this statement correct or incorrect?" and I believe it's pretty ambiguous to ask such a thing. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


Since the lanthanides are neither in the same period nor in the same group as aluminium, comparision is actually not feasible. Factors like atomic size and effective nuclear charge tend to predominate such comparisions, rather than ionization enthalpy or reduction potential.

Bear in mind that due to presence of electrons in f-orbital for lanthanides provide poor shielding of electrons farther away from the nucleus. This poor shielding is due to the fact that f-orbitals are quite diffused in nature. Yet, we cannot say anything about reactivity of lanthanides when compared to aluminium. If you are still a high-school student, I suggest you do not ask such hypothetical questions.

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    $\begingroup$ Well this was asked in our country's entrance examination and I had the same views as you. I felt it was quite ambiguous to compare them and probably there was some more in depth explanation which I did not know of. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 18:22

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