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Transition Metals

Transition Metals

Introduction: Gold, silver, and copper - all of these elements are known as coinage metals, meaning that they have been used in coins at one time or another because of their appearance, their malleability, and their ability to resist rusting as a result of oxidation. In addition to this, however, gold, silver, and copper also comprise a larger group of metals on the Periodic Table that is collectively known as the transition metals. The transition metals, being in Groups 3 to 12 on the Periodic Table, have very specific chemical and physical properties that distinguish them from other type of metals.

Transition Metals are a group of metals on Groups 3 to 12 on the Periodic Table that not only have the traditional characteristics of metals - luster, ductility, malleability, and excellent conduction of heat and electricity - but also tend to have more than one oxidation state and also tend to form colored compounds. [math]"Cu"^{2+}[/math] ions, for example, form blue ions in solution. Copper is a transition metal that forms ions with oxidation states of +1 and +2. Another example of a transition metal is vanadium, with forms ions with oxidation states of +2, +3, +4, and +5.

Transition metals also have the characteristic of being able to be used in alloys and as catalysts for many real-world applications. For example, steel is an alloy of iron and carbon that is used often in construction. Zinc and copper provide yet another important example of transition metals, as they are used in brass for door knobs and instruments, among other things. Iron is used as a catalyst in the Haber Process, to help facilitate the production of ammonia.

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