Metals are a group of elements with robust characteristic under general conditions. There are a total of 118 elements in the periodic table. Of 118 elements in the periodic table, almost 91 of them are metals. So a majority of elements are metals. They include alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals including lanthanides and attitude.
List of metals
The alkali metals are in group IA. They are positioned on the far left side of the periodic table. They are highly reactive elements because of their +1 oxidation state. Thus they quickly lose an electron forming an octet in its outer shell (completely filled) and form compounds.
These elements are found in isolated forms in nature due to their highly reactive property.
Only hydrogen is found in free form in nature as a pure element. It is s diatomic hydrogen gas where it forms a constant bond with itself. These metals form predominantly basic oxides and hydroxide and are hence called alkali metals. They have very low ionization enthalpy (amount of energy needed to lose an electron) so very reactive.
These elements with their atomic numbers are
- Hydrogen (shows both metallic and nonmetallic characteristics) 1
- Lithium 3 – most reactive metal
- Sodium 11 – maintains the osmotic level in the blood
- Potassium 19 – essential for plant growth
- Rubidium 37
- Cesium 55
- Francium 87
Alkaline Earth Metals
The alkaline earth metals are arranged in the group IIA of the periodic table. This is the second column of the periodic table after the alkali metal group. The atoms of all the alkaline earth metals have a +2 oxidation state. They are also quite reactive like the alkali metals as they can easily lose two electrons to form compounds. Thus, these elements are found mostly in compound form rather than in pure substance form. These alkaline earth metals are quite reactive but are still less than the alkali metals. They have low ionization energy but more than alkali metals so they are reactive.
- Beryllium 4 –used in nuclear research
- Magnesium 12 central atom in chlorophyll
- Calcium 20 – the main component in bones
- Strontium 38
- Barium 56
- Radium 88 –this is a radioactive element
The basic metals are those elements that display the characteristics generally associated with the term “metal.” They are spread over multiple columns/groups. They have the ability to conduct heat and electricity. They also possess a metallic luster, are ductile and malleable. However, these elements also display some nonmetallic characteristics. While most metals are hard, lead and gallium are soft. These elements generally have lower melting and boiling points than the transition metals (with some exceptions).
- Aluminum 13 – used to make aircraft, vessels due to its lightweight
- Gallium 31
- Indium 49
- Tin 50 – used in making cans and toys
- Thallium 81
- Lead 82-used in making alloys
- Bismuth 83
- Nihonium 113
- Flerovium 114
- Moscovium 115
- Livermorium 116
- Tennessine (in the halogen group but may behave more like a metalloid or metal in some cases . It is a synthetic element) 117
The transition metals are characterized by having partially filled ‘D’ or ‘F’ electron subshells. Since the shell is incompletely filled and there is very less energy difference between the subshells, the electrons can jump from one subshell to another. Thus they can display multiple oxidation states. Due to their vacant orbitals, they form coordination bonds and often produce colored complexes.
The ‘D’ block metals are:
- Scandium 21
- Titanium 22 used to make airframes as it is light and can withstand extreme temperature
- Vanadium 23
- Chromium 24 used in electroplating
- Manganese 25 used to make dry cell batteries
- Iron 26 present in the blood, used to make many items of daily use
- Cobalt 27
- Nickel 28
- Copper 29 used to make alloys
- Zinc 30 used for galvanizing iron
- Yttrium 39
- Zirconium 40
- Niobium 41
- Molybdenum 42
- Technetium 43
- Ruthenium 44
- Rhodium 45
- Palladium 46
- Silver 47 expensive material used to make jewelry with
- Cadmium 48
- Lanthanum (the lanthanides are inserted after this element) 57
- Hafnium 72
- Tantalum 73
- Tungsten 74 used in light bulbs
- Rhenium 75
- Osmium 76
- Iridium 77
- Platinum 78 most inert metal
- Gold 79 one of the most expensive materials to make jewelry with
- Mercury 80 used in thermometers
- Actinium (the lanthanides are inserted after this element) 89
- Rutherfordium 104
- Dubnium 105
- Seaborgium 106
- Bohrium 107
- Hassium 108
- Meitnerium 109
- Darmstadtium 110
- Roentgenium 111
- Copernicium 112
The lanthanides and actinides are kept separately at the bottom of the periodic table in the first block so as to not disturb the structure of the table. They display more complex chemical and physical characteristics as they have orbitals that are energetically similar so the electrons jump easily within orbitals. The orbitals are also far away from the nucleus, so electrons are less attracted and this influences their reactivity.
The lanthanides (atomic number 58 to 71) are:
- Cerium 58
- Praseodymium 59
- Neodymium 60
- Promethium 61
- Samarium 62
- Europium 63
- Gadolinium 64
- Terbium 65
- Dysprosium 66
- Holmium 67
- Erbium 68
- Thulium 69
- Ytterbium 70
- Lutetium 71
The actinides( atomic number 90 to 103) are:
- Thorium 90
- Protactinium 91
- Uranium 92
- Neptunium 93
- Plutonium 94
- Americium 95
- Curium 96
- Berkelium 97
- Californium 98
- Einsteinium 99
- Fermium 100
- Mendelevium 101
- Nobelium 102
- Lawrencium 103
General distinguishing characters of metals
Metals are usually found in the solid-state at room temperature (except mercury exists in liquid state)
Generally, metals are hard.
(Except – sodium and potassium which are soft and can be cut with a knife)
Metals usually have high boiling points and melting points
(except mercury, sodium, potassium, gallium, cesium)
Metals have high density
(Except sodium and potassium)
Metals are malleable, that they can be beaten into thin sheets, like an aluminum sheet.
Metals are also ductile and hence can be pulled into thin wires. The copper wires in electric connections is an example.
Metals are sonorous and produce sound when struck.
Metals are lustrous, have a shining surface.
Metals are good conductors of heat
Aluminum is the best conductor of heat while lead and mercury are poor conductors of heat.
Metals are good conductors of electricity.
Silver is the best conductor while lead is the most mediocre conductor of electricity.