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Transition Metals - Inner Transition Metals - Concept

Teacher/Instructor Jacqueline Spivey
Jacqueline Spivey

Ph.D.,U.C.Santa Cruz
Teaching at a top-ranked high school in SF

She teaches general and chemistry at a top-ranked high school in San Francisco. Prior to that, she lead and published a number of research studies and lectured at SF State University.

Transition metals are in the d-block and have valence electrons in the d-orbital's. They can form multiple oxidation states and form different ions. Iron, Cobalt and Nickel are ferromagnetic. Inner transition metals are in the f-block and have valence electrons in the f-orbital's. They consist of the Lanthanides and the Actinides. The Actinides are radioactive and mostly synthetic.

Let's continue talking about the periodic table and more specifically let's talk about the properties of transition and inner transition metals, so we call that transition metals are groups 3 through 12 and they're right in the middle of the periodic table I'll point it out more materially and they have d orbitals and inner transition metals are located at the bottom of the periodic table and those guys have f orbitals. Remember the d orbitals maximally hold 10 valence electrons and f orbitals hold a maximum of 14. So all these guys both the transition metals and the inner transition metals exhibit properties of the other metals that we see on the periodic table meaning they are good conductors of electricity, they have a nice luster quality to them and they're malleable which means they're soft and you kind of playable.

So across a period in the transition metals and the inner transition metals, remember periods are the rows, so going across the row there is little variation in the atomic size, in the electronegativity and in the ionization energy. However, there are differences in the physical properties and so those differences in physical properties are determined by the electronic configurations of the various elements that fall within these two groups. And so, when I say the electronic configurations I'm referring to the fact that if there are unpaired electrons, it causes the physical properties to be a little bit different within the family. So transition metals can lose two s electrons to become 2+ions and they can also form multiple oxidation states so it's something different from the s-block elements and p-block elements. They usually have one oxidation state that they prefer, within the transition metals thought they can form numerous oxidation states for instance vanadium which is here atomic number 23, it can have an oxidation state of 2, 3, 4 and 5 so 2+, 3+, 4+ and 5+ and so all of those different oxidation states if you were to make a solution with vanadium you could know that the oxidation state was changing because the colors of the solution will change drastically.

So the transition metals can also exhibit magnetic properties as a result of being able to have unpaired electrons, so if in the electron configuration you have paired electrons then we call that diamagnetic and if you actually have unpaired electrons, then we say that that element or compound exhibits paramagnetic properties. So iron, cobalt and nickel which are located here, here and here these guys are what we call ferromagnetic so they form permanent magnets so they're unpaired electrons kind of line up in a pole when they come in contact with the magnetic fields and they remain in that formation which causes them to form a permanent magnet.

So just a little bit then about the inner transition metals which are the guys located at the bottom that have the two periods, period 6 the lanthanide series and period 7 the actinide series. So with the lanthanides, there is little variation in properties and in nature they're kind of all mixed together and so they're difficult to separate so we don't talk about them very much. Then we have the actinides which are the period sevens located at the very bottom of the periodic table and these are your radioactive elements and so only 3 of them actually exist in nature and the others are all synthetic and so the synthetic ones are starting here, uranium which is atomic number 92 and so we call those guys from uranium on to the end they're transuranium series and so those are all the guys with atomic number greater than 92 all the ones that have to be created in particle accelerators and things of that nature and that is more on the periodic table.