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I was doing some research about Thulium and every website says that it is malleable, but doesn't explain why.

What chemical properties does Thulium possess which makes it malleable?

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All the lanthanides are soft metals; there is nothing special about thulium in that regard, AFAIK. For that matter, so are the alkali metals, and gold can be scratched with a fingernail.

Most pure metallic elements are malleable. "This is because of the ability of the atoms to roll over each other into new positions without breaking the metallic bond." Brittleness (the opposite of malleability and ductility) often occurs because of impurities such as carbon, or a metal alloy which separates on cooling. These impurities "pin" dislocations in the metal, preventing them from moving smoothly. It makes alloys harder, as well as more brittle. The early technologists discovered that the alloy bronze was harder than pure copper.

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  • $\begingroup$ Bcc metals generally are not very malleable. Think tungsten (or pure iron for that matter). Fcc and hcp (like thulium) have much nicer slip systems for plastic deformation. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Aug 12 '16 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ Pure tungsten is ductile and malleable: look at a filament of an incandescent lamp. It did take some time to make W of that purity, so Edison had to use C, but by WWII, it was used to make filaments and nosecones of bazooka shells. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tungsten#Physical_properties $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Aug 12 '16 at 23:09

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