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Science

The transition metals

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The transition metals are placed in the centre of the periodic table, between groups 2 and 3. They are generally hard and dense, and less reactive than the alkali metals. Iron, copper, silver and gold are important transition metals.

The transition metals: overview

The elements in the centre of the periodic table, between groups 2 and 3, are called the transition metals. Most of the commonly used metals are there, including iron, copper, silver and gold.

periodic table showing the transition metals, including manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu) zinc (Zn), silver (Ag), platinum (Pt), gold (Au) and mercury (Hg)

The transition metals

Common properties

The transition metals have the following properties in common:

  • they form coloured compounds
  • they are good conductors of heat and electricity
  • they can be hammered or bent into shape easily
  • they are less reactive than alkali metals such as sodium
  • they have high melting points - but mercury is a liquid at room temperature
  • they are usually hard and tough
  • they have high densities

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