A transition metal is any element within blocks 3-12 of the periodic table therefore such example of an transition metal include copper, iron, gold and silver. They are generally hard and dense and less reactive than alkali metals. An example is gold which hardly reacts with anything. They are good conductors of heat and electricity, coloured compounds and can hammered and bent into different shapes quite easily. Transition metals generally also have a high melting point with the exception of mercury which is liquid at room temperature (roughly 20 degrees).
Due to the properties transition metals have, they are used throughout industry to take advantage of their properties. Here are some examples:
- Used as the catalyst in the manufacturing of ammonia.
- Iron isn’t used much but steel is. Iron is made into steel which is stronger than iron and can be more easily shaped too. Steel is used to make buildings, cars, tools and bridges.
- Titanium is much lighter and stronger than most transition metals which makes it the prime transition metal to use in fighter jets and artificial hip joints: where being light and strong matters.
- Copper is a cheap transition metal compared to others which means it is used quite a lot.
- Because copper can be easily bent and it doesn’t react with water, it is used at water pipes underneath us.
- Copper is also good at conducting electricity making it the perfect metal to be used as electricity cables.
- Nickel is used in the manufacturing of margarine.
- 5p coins are made from nickel
- Gold doesn’t corrode in air or water (rust) making it good for jewellery.
- It is also a good conductor of heat and electricity and therefore used in circuit boards and electrical contacts.