Metallic Character of Transition Metals

Transition Metals

Transition metals are actually the various chemical elements that have valence electrons. It means electrons that can promote the formation of chemical bonds in two shells instead of just one. Although the term transformation does not have any specific chemical meaning, it is a convenient name for distinguishing the similarity of the atomic structures and the resulting properties of the elements. They occupy the centre portions of the periodic table of elements between the groups on the left and the groups on the right. Specifically, groups 3 (IIIb) through 12 (IIb)


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What is a Metallic Character? 

According to the metallic character definition, Metallic character refers to the level of the metal's reactivity. Metals tend to lose electrons in chemical reactions, as implied by their low ionization energy. Metal atoms have a low attraction for electrons within the compound, as indicated by their low electronegativity.


Physical properties related to metallic character involve metallic lustre, glossy appearance, high density, high electrical conductivity, and high thermal conductivity. Most of the metals with metallic characters are malleable and ductile and can be deformed without breaking. In this case, Zn, Cd, Hg, and Mn are exceptions. The rest of the elements show one or more metallic characters at room temperature. Except for the metals which are exceptions, the remaining of the elements are hard and have low volatility.


Metallic Character Trend 

According to the modern periodic table, the metallic character of an element decreases as we move from left to right in the periodic table. This is due to the fact that, while moving from left to right in a period of time, the number of electrons and protons in an atom is expected to increase, which makes the nuclear force stronger, and therefore it becomes more difficult to lose electrons.


Metallic character increases down the group. This kind of metallic character trend happens because the atomic radius increases while moving down the group, which makes it easier to lose electrons.


How to Recognize Elements with Metallic Trends?

  • Metallic characters are shown by metals, all of which are on the left side of the periodic table.

  • The only exception is hydrogen, which is a non-metal under normal conditions. Yet hydrogen behaves like metal when it's liquid or solid, but perhaps you should perceive it non-metallic for most purposes.

  • Metallic elements occur in certain groups or columns of elements, including alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals (including lanthanide and actinides below the main body of the periodic table), and base metals.

  • Other metal categories encompass base metals, noble metals, ferrous metals, heavy metals, and precious metals. Metalloids display some metallic character. However, this family of elements also has some non-metallic properties.


Explanation for the Metallic Character of Transition Elements

  • Transitional elements have a metallic character because they have low ionization energies as well as several empty orbitals in their outer shells. Such a property leads to the formation of metallic bonds in transition metals and hence demonstrates common metallic properties.

  • These metals are hard, indicating the presence of covalent bonds. This is due to the presence of unpaired d-electrons in transition metals. The d-orbital containing unpaired electrons can sometimes overlap and establish covalent bonds. The higher the number of unpaired electrons present in the transition metals, the greater the number of covalent bonds formed by them.

  • The chromium (Cr), tungsten (W) and molybdenum (Mo) metals have a maximum number of unpaired d-electrons. These transition metals are therefore exceedingly difficult. On the other hand, zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), and mercury ( Hg) are not extremely hard because they do not have unpaired d-electrons.


Metallic character with Alloys 

Although the metallic character is mainly related to pure elements, alloys could also have a metallic character. For example, bronze and most copper, magnesium, aluminium, and titanium alloys usually show a high level of metallicity. A few other metallic alloys consist purely of metals, but most often contain metalloids and nonmetals, while retaining the properties of metals.


Example Questions 

Question 1) Give some examples of metals that display metallic character 

Answer) The metals that display with metallic characters are francium, caesium, sodium, copper, silver, iron, gold, aluminium, etc. Caesium and francium are the elements that display the highest metallic character. 


Question 2) How does the atomic radius vary in the metallic trends of transition elements? 

Answer) The atomic radius increases by going down a group, by moving the outer electrons further away from the nucleus. It makes the electron less attracted to the nucleus. As a result, metals become more reactive as we go down the group.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Non - Metallic Character Trends in the Periodic Table?

Answer) Elements that tend to gain electrons are known as non-metals. The tendency to gain electrons increases over a period of time due to an increase in the nuclear charge and a decrease in the atomic size. The non-metallic character thus increases over a period of time. As we move down the group, the non-metallic character decreases due to an increase in nuclear size.

2. Why does Metallic Character Increase as you go Down the Group?

Answer) As we start moving down the periodic table, the number of shells will be increasing. The effective nuclear charge sustained by valence electrons decreases as the outermost electrons move further away from the central nucleus. These valence electrons can therefore easily be lost. The element gains a positive charge by losing the electrons. As a result, the metallic character increases down the group.

3. Why do Atomic Radii Increase Down a Group and Decrease Across a Period?

Answer) Atomic radius decreases across a period: The shells remain the very same, however the number of valence electrons increases which results in the increase in the attraction between the nucleus and the valence electrons.


Atomic radius increases down the group: The valence electrons remain the same, but the number of shells keeps increasing when going down the group and the attraction force between the nucleus and the valence shell keeps reducing.