Transition metals

The transition metals are the elements found in the central area of the periodic table.

Periodic table highlighting the transition metals.

The majority of transition metals have the following properties in common.

  • They form coloured compounds.
  • They are good conductors of heat and electricity.
  • They are malleable, ie 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 usually have high densities.
  • They can form ions with different charges. For example, iron can lose two electrons to form Fe2+ ions or it can lose three electrons to form Fe3+ ions. Another example is Cu+ and Cu2+.