Mining to Welding

From Mining to Welding: A Metals Resource Guide

Metals are elements with certain distinct characteristics. There are some primary traits which differentiate metals from other elements. Firstly, metals are good conductors of electricity. Secondly, metals can easily form compounds with other elements so they are hence very reactive. Whenever compounds are dissolved in a solution, metals make the positive ions. About 75% of the elements listed in the periodic table are metals. There are several kinds of metals. Some of them include Alkali Metals, Alkaline Earth Metals, Transition Metals, Post Transition Metals, Lanthanoids, and Actinoids.

Alkali Metals
Alkali metals are placed towards the left side of the periodic table. Members of the alkali metal family include Francium (Fr), Cesium (Cs), Lithium (Li), Potassium (K), Sodium (Na), and Rubidium (Rb). All alkali metals have a single electron in their outer shell so they are extremely reactive. Quite shiny, alkali metals are lightweight, and react with water.

Alkaline Earth Metals
Alkaline Earth metals are also very reactive. They are called alkaline because whenever they are mixed in solutions, the resultant solution has a pH greater than 7. In other words, the solution becomes alkaline. The metals which fall under alkaline earth metals include radium (Ra), magnesium (Mg), beryllium (Be), barium (Ba), calcium (Ca), and strontium (Sr). Alkaline earth metals contain two electrons in the outer shell. These metals are often used for making batteries, special alloys, flashbulbs, and even fireworks.

  • Alkaline Earth Metals: Provides details of the origin and preparation of alkaline earth metals.
  • Reactivity: Explains the reactive properties of alkaline earth metals.
  • Electrical Conductivity: Offers detailed information on the electrical conductivity of alkaline earth metals.
  • Alkaline Earth Metals Overview: Comprehensive information on alkaline earth metals.
  • Elements: Lists the elements under alkaline earth metals and also the uses of each of those elements.

Transition Metals
Transition metals are elements which have a number of characteristics similar to metals. They are hard with high boiling and melting points. Transition metals are very malleable and they are good conductors of electricity. Some other properties include low ionization energies and positive oxidization states. Transition elements can also use its two outermost shells for bonding with elements. Some of the elements which fall in the transition metal family include scandium, copper, silver, and gold.

Post Transition Metals

Post-transition metals are the elements which are softer than transitional metals. Their melting points are lower and their electro negativity is higher than transitional metals. Some of the post transition metals include gallium, aluminum, indium, thallium, tin, lead, and bismuth. As one goes up the periodic table group, the metallic characteristic of post transition metals reduces.

  • Post Transition Metals: Offers information on post transition metals and non-metals
  • Overview: Concise description of post transition metals.
  • Electronic Structure: An award-winning essay on the electronic structure of post transition metals.
  • Representative Metals: A periodic table of representative metals with some information on post transition metals.

Lanthanoids are placed in the periodic table’s block 5d. Lanthanoids are sometimes called rare earths and a majority of lanthanoids are formed when there is fission of plutonium and uranium. They also have several scientific and industrial uses. The lanthanoid compounds are often used for the production of petroleum products. They are also used in lasers, motion picture projectors, and X- ray intensifying screens. Lanthanide silicides or Mischmetall is sometimes mixed with low alloy steel to increase its strength. They burn very easily in air and they bind with water as well. Some examples of lanthanoids are europeum, lanthanum, and terbium.


Unlike lanthanoids which are naturally found on the Earth, actinoids are elements which are usually not found in nature. All actinoids are radioactive and most of them are created in specialized labs across the world. The only two actinoids found naturally are thorium and uranium. All actinoids are f block elements and a unique characteristic of actinoids is that their size decreases with an increase in the atomic number.