The transition metals, groups 3–12 in the periodic table, are generally characterized by partially filled d subshells in the free elements or their cations. (Although the metals of group 12 do not have partially filled d shells, their chemistry is similar in many ways to that of the preceding groups, and we therefore include them in our discussion.) Unlike the s-block and p-block elements, the transition metals exhibit significant horizontal similarities in chemistry in addition to their vertical similarities.
- General Trends among the Transition Metals
- Transition metals are characterized by the existence of multiple oxidation states separated by a single electron. Most transition-metal compounds are paramagnetic, whereas virtually all compounds of the p-block elements are diamagnetic.
- Introduction to Transition Metals II
- This page explains what a transition metal is in terms of its electronic structure, and then goes on to look at the general features of transition metal chemistry. These include variable oxidation state (oxidation number), complex ion formation, coloured ions, and catalytic activity.
- Oxidation States of Transition Metals
- The oxidation state of an element is related to the number of electrons that an atom loses, gains, or appears to use when joining with another atom in compounds. It also determines the ability of an atom to oxidize (to lose electrons) or to reduce (to gain electrons) other atoms or species. Almost all of the transition metals have multiple potential oxidation states.
- Transition Metals in Biology
- In this section, we describe several systems that illustrate the roles transition metals play in biological systems. Our goal is for you to understand why the chemical properties of these elements make them essential for life. We begin with a discussion of the strategies organisms use to extract transition metals from their environment.