Question 10.15:

Compare the solubility and thermal stability of the following compounds of the alkali metals with those of the alkaline earth metals.

(i) Nitrates

(ii) Carbonates

(iii) Sulphates.

(i) Nitrates
Thermal stability
Nitrates of alkali metals, except LiNO3, decompose on strong heating to form nitrites.
$2{\mathrm{KNO}}_{3\left(\mathrm{s}\right)}\to 2{\mathrm{KNO}}_{2\left(\mathrm{s}\right)}+{\mathrm{O}}_{2\left(\mathrm{g}\right)}$
LiNO3, on decomposition, gives oxide.
$2{\mathrm{LiNO}}_{3\left(\mathrm{s}\right)}\stackrel{∆}{\to }{\mathrm{Li}}_{2}{\mathrm{O}}_{\left(\mathrm{s}\right)}+2{\mathrm{NO}}_{2}\left(\mathrm{g}\right)+{\mathrm{O}}_{2\left(\mathrm{g}\right)}$
Similar to lithium nitrate, alkaline earth metal nitrates also decompose to give oxides.
$2\mathrm{Ca}{\left({\mathrm{NO}}_{3}\right)}_{\left(\mathrm{s}\right)}\stackrel{∆}{\to }2{\mathrm{CaO}}_{\left(\mathrm{s}\right)}+4{\mathrm{NO}}_{2\left(\mathrm{g}\right)}+{\mathrm{O}}_{2\left(\mathrm{g}\right)}$
As we move down group 1 and group 2, the thermal stability of nitrate increases.
Solubility
Nitrates of both group 1 and group 2 metals are soluble in water.
(ii) Carbonates
Thermal stability
The carbonates of alkali metals are stable towards heat. However, carbonate of lithium, when heated, decomposes to form lithium oxide. The carbonates of alkaline earth metals also decompose on heating to form oxide and carbon dioxide.
Solubility
Carbonates of alkali metals are soluble in water with the exception of Li2CO3. Also, the solubility increases as we move down the group.
Carbonates of alkaline earth metals are insoluble in water.
(iii) Sulphates
Thermal stability
Sulphates of both group 1 and group 2 metals are stable towards heat.
Solubility
Sulphates of alkali metals are soluble in water. However, sulphates of alkaline earth metals show varied trends.
BeSO4    Fairly soluble
MgSO4   Soluble
CaSO4   Sparingly soluble
SrSO4    Insoluble
BaSO4    Insoluble
In other words, while moving down the alkaline earth metals, the solubility of their sulphates decreases.