Properties of Transition Metals (chemistry only)
Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table
The transition elements share some physical properties with all metals:
- they conduct electricity
- they are shiny when freshly cut
Some properties of transition elements are different from those of the metals in group 1. Compared to other metals, most transition metals have the general properties of:
- higher melting points
- higher densities
- greater strength
- greater hardness
- form coloured compounds
- have catalytic activity as pure metals, and as compounds
The following elements have properties that are typical of transition elements:
- chromium, Cr
- manganese, Mn
- iron, Fe
- cobalt, Co
- nickel, Ni
- copper, Cu
Iron forms multiple coloured compounds:
- iron(II) hydroxide - pale green
- iron(III) hydroxide - orange/brown
- iron(III) oxide - red/brown
Reactions of Transition Metals
Not only are there differences in the physical properties of transition metals compared to group 1 metals, there are differences in the chemical properties too.
The group 1 elements react quickly with oxygen in the air at room temperature. Most transition elements react slowly, or not at all, with oxygen at room temperature.
copper + oxygen → copper oxide
Cu(s) + O2(g) → CuO(s)
The group 1 elements react vigorously with cold water. Most transition elements react slowly with cold water, or not at all.
The group 1 elements react vigorously with the halogens. Some transition elements also react with halogens.
iron + chlorine → iron(III) chloride
Fe(s) + Cl2(g) → FeCl3(s)