Chemistry » Transition Metals » Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Transition Metals and Their Compounds

Summarizing Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Transition Metals

Key Concepts and Summary

The transition metals are elements with partially filled d orbitals, located in the d-block of the periodic table. The reactivity of the transition elements varies widely from very active metals such as scandium and iron to almost inert elements, such as the platinum metals. The type of chemistry used in the isolation of the elements from their ores depends upon the concentration of the element in its ore and the difficulty of reducing ions of the elements to the metals. Metals that are more active are more difficult to reduce.

Transition metals exhibit chemical behavior typical of metals. For example, they oxidize in air upon heating and react with elemental halogens to form halides. Those elements that lie above hydrogen in the activity series react with acids, producing salts and hydrogen gas. Oxides, hydroxides, and carbonates of transition metal compounds in low oxidation states are basic. Halides and other salts are generally stable in water, although oxygen must be excluded in some cases. Most transition metals form a variety of stable oxidation states, allowing them to demonstrate a wide range of chemical reactivity.

Glossary

actinide series

(also, actinoid series) actinium and the elements in the second row or the f-block, atomic numbers 89–103

coordination compound

stable compound in which the central metal atom or ion acts as a Lewis acid and accepts one or more pairs of electrons

d-block element

one of the elements in groups 3–11 with valence electrons in d orbitals

f-block element

(also, inner transition element) one of the elements with atomic numbers 58–71 or 90–103 that have valence electrons in f orbitals; they are frequently shown offset below the periodic table

first transition series

transition elements in the fourth period of the periodic table (first row of the d-block), atomic numbers 21–29

fourth transition series

transition elements in the seventh period of the periodic table (fourth row of the d-block), atomic numbers 89 and 104–111

hydrometallurgy

process in which a metal is separated from a mixture by first converting it into soluble ions, extracting the ions, and then reducing the ions to precipitate the pure metal

lanthanide series

(also, lanthanoid series) lanthanum and the elements in the first row or the f-block, atomic numbers 57–71

platinum metals

group of six transition metals consisting of ruthenium, osmium, rhodium, iridium, palladium, and platinum that tend to occur in the same minerals and demonstrate similar chemical properties

rare earth element

collection of 17 elements including the lanthanides, scandium, and yttrium that often occur together and have similar chemical properties, making separation difficult

second transition series

transition elements in the fifth period of the periodic table (second row of the d-block), atomic numbers 39–47

smelting

process of extracting a pure metal from a molten ore

steel

material made from iron by removing impurities in the iron and adding substances that produce alloys with properties suitable for specific uses

superconductor

material that conducts electricity with no resistance

third transition series

transition elements in the sixth period of the periodic table (third row of the d-block), atomic numbers 57 and 72–79

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