Transition metals are defined as those elements that have (or readily form) partially filled d orbitals. These include the d-block (groups 3–11) and f-block element elements. The variety of properties exhibited by transition metals is due to their complex valence shells. Unlike most main group metals where one oxidation state is normally observed, the valence shell structure of transition metals means that they usually occur in several different stable oxidation states. In addition, electron transitions in these elements can correspond with absorption of photons in the visible electromagnetic spectrum, leading to colored compounds. Because of these behaviors, transition metals exhibit a rich and fascinating chemistry.
- 19.1: Properties of Transition Metals and Their Compounds
- The transition metals are elements with partially filled d orbitals, located in the d-block of the periodic table. The reactivity of the transition elements varies widely from very active metals such as scandium and iron to almost inert elements, such as the platinum metals. The type of chemistry used in the isolation of the elements from their ores depends upon the concentration of the element in its ore and the difficulty of reducing ions of the elements to the metals.
- 19.2: Coordination Chemistry of Transition Metals
- The transition elements and main group elements can form coordination compounds, or complexes, in which a central metal atom or ion is bonded to one or more ligands by coordinate covalent bonds. Ligands with more than one donor atom are called polydentate ligands and form chelates. The common geometries found in complexes are tetrahedral and square planar (both with a coordination number of four) and octahedral (with a coordination number of six).
- 19.3: Optical and Magnetic Properties of Coordination Compounds
- Crystal field theory, which assumes that metal–ligand interactions are only electrostatic in nature, explains many important properties of transition-metal complexes, including their colors, magnetism, structures, stability, and reactivity.
- 19.E: Transition Metals and Coordination Chemistry (Exercises)
- These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Chemistry" by OpenStax. Complementary General Chemistry question banks can be found for other Textmaps and can be accessed here.