Introduction to the Transition Metals: In the Periodic Table, the Transition Metals are the thirty eight elements in groups three through twelve, including the Lanthanide and Actinide Series. Zinc, Cadmium and Mercury is often exluded from transition metals. Most of the groups in the Periodic Table are arranged in neat columns, according to how many valence electrons they have. However, this can not be said for the Transition Metals. At first glance, the Transition Metals can seem to be a confusing break in the pattern. But this is because all of them have similar properties, and it all starts with their electrons.

Physical Properties of the Transition Metals

Transition metals are the mos typical metals found on the Earth. Transition metals are good conductors for both heat and electricity. They also have malleability so many products are made of transition metals. They have very high density, boiling point, and melting point. Transition metals are white and/or silver lustrous metals.

Chemical Properties of the Transition Metals

Electron Configuration: What makes a Transition Metal is their electron configuration. First off, they do not always use the same number of valence electrons in chemical reactions, and secondly, they can fit more than just eight electrons in an orbital. In fact, Transition Metals can have up to thirty two electrons in their second to last orbital. The one rule however is that no shell can have more than thirty two electrons. Another interesting chemical property of the Transition Metals is that they can use the two outermost orbitals to bond with other elements, and because of this, they can create a vast array of different compounds.


Reactivity Trends: Overall, Transition Metals can be considered to be a docile group of elements. They are much less reactive than the Alkali Metals, and do not react quickly with with water of oxygen, therefore taking a longer period of time for them to corrode. Also, they often times create colored compounds, much more so than other elements, either in solid or liquid form. A great example of this is the compound copper oxide

Oxidized Copper
external image 145697738_52a6bd49cd_m.jpg

Interesting Facts and Common Uses of the Transition Metals:
  • The Tranisition Metal Mercury is called the "Liquid Metal". This is because its naturally occuring state is as a liquid. It is commonly used in thermometers.
  • The only known elements to produce a magnetic field, Iron, Nickel, and Cobalt, are transiton metals.
  • Steel, a durable metal compound used extensively in everything industrial, is made primarily from the Transition Metal Iron, along with Carbon and other metals.
  • Stainless Steel is made from a compound of the Transition Metals Iron, Chromium, and sometimes Nitrogen.
  • Brass is made from copper and zinc.
  • Copper has an incredible array of uses in our world. It is used in kitchen ware, hot water plumbing, electrical wiring, and roof covering. Copper is a good choice for all of these because it is very ductile, a great conductor of heat and electricity, and does not corrode easily.

Boiling Points, Melting Points, and Atomic Size (Radius) and the trends



Pictures of some of the Transition Metals and commodities they are used in

external image Mercury.gif

Iron, Nickel, and Cobalt magnets
external image 05alnico_magnet.jpg

Steel support beams. The main ingredient in steel is Iron
external image Bellville%20Pictures%5CSteel%20Diaphrams.jpg

Brass, made from Copper and Zinc
external image norgren1.gif


external image 10mesh028-copper.jpg