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The Transition Metals




 
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What are the transition metals?

The transition metals are the block of elements in the middle of the Periodic Table.

Some of the better known transition metals are:

Chemical Name

Chemical Symbol

chromium

Cr

iron

Fe

nickel

Ni

copper

Cu

zinc

Zn

silver

Ag

platinum

Pt

gold

Au

mercury

Hg

Physical Properties of Transition Metals

  • They are metals.
  • They are good conductors of heat and electricity.
  • They can be hammered or bent into shape easily.
  • They have higher melting points than alkali metals except for mercury which is a liquid at room temperature
  • They are hard and tough.
  • They have high densities.

Chemical Properties of Transition Metals

  • They are less reactive than the Group 1 alkali metals. This means that they do not corrode easily in air or water. (Iron is an exception because it rusts easily)
  • Most transition metals form ions with different charges. They have variable valency.

Copper

Cu+, Cu2+

Iron

Fe2+, Fe3+

  • Due to their variable valency, they can form more than one compound with another element. The Roman number in brackets indicates the number of electrons the metal atom has lost. The number is called the oxidation state.

copper(I) oxide

CuO

copper(II) oxide

Cu2O

iron(II) oxide

FeO

iron(III) oxide

Fe2O3

  • They form colored compounds.

copper(I) oxide

red

copper(II) oxide

black

iron(II) oxide

reddish brown

iron(III) oxide

brown

Uses of the transition metals

  • Iron is used in structures such as buildings, cars and bridges.
  • They can be used in making alloy. For example, chromium and nickel are mixed with iron to make stainless steel.
  • They are used as conductors of heat and electricity. For example, copper is used for electricity cables and steel is used for radiators.
  • They can be used as catalyst to speed up reactions.



Videos

Chromium is element number 24.
Iron
This video shows a red-hot thermite reaction (Iron oxide + Aluminum)
Fe2O3(s) + 2 Al(s) → 2 Fe(l) + Al2O3(s)).



Nickel is element number 28
Copper is element number 29


 
Zinc
This video shows a composition of zinc and sulfur.
When ignited, zinc (Zn) reacts with sulfur (S) and creates zinc sulfide (ZnS). Zn + S → ZnS
The reaction is exothermic, which means it releases energy.
Silver is element number 47 and its chemical symbol is Ag.


Platinum - often associated with jewellery and motor cars - is element number 78.
Gold is element number 79.


The liquid metal Mercury is element number 80.


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