The transition metals

physical properties, chemical properties and alloys, and transition metal compounds.

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Physical properties of transition metals

The transition metals have a typical metallic structure which explains most of their properties. The metal's atoms exist in a giant structure held together by metallic bonds, the outer electrons can move freely. 

Good conductors of heat and electricity because delocalised electrons carry the electrical current or the heat energy through the metal.

They are also hard, tough and strong, yet we can bend or hammer them into useful shapes. 

With the exception of mercury, the transition metals have high melting points.

Transition metals have a partly-filled lower energy level which explains why transition metals form brightly coloured compound. It also results in their use as catalysts. 

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Chemical properties and alloys

Transition metals are not very reactive with oxygen and water so they corrode very slowly, making them useful as structural materials.

They are particularly useful when they are mixed with each other or other elements to make alloys. Mixing iron with carbon to make steel is the best known alloy.

other useful alloys of transition metals are:

brass - a combination of copper and zine

cupro-nickel - a very hard alloy of copper and nickel which is used to make coins.

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Transition metal compounds

Many of the transition metals are coloured compounds.

The colours produced by the transition elements are important in the world around us. For example, the colours of many minerals, rocks and gen stones are the result of transition element ions.

The coloured ions of the transition elements are used in many ways. For example, lots of pottery glazing contain transition metals to give bright colours. 

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