Questions tagged [metal]

For questions about metals in general and their physical or chemical properties. For characteristic properties and reactions of d and f block metals specifically, use the [transition-metals] and [rare-earth-elements] tags respectively instead.

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194
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1answer
41k views

Why can we smell copper?

If I can smell an object, it means that molecules of it are getting separated from it, so they can reach my nose. As far as I know, metals don't sublimate, especially not in room temperature. However, ...
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2answers
52k views

What makes some metals melt at higher temperature?

I'm looking at the melting temperature of metallic elements, and notice that the metals with high melting temperature are all grouped in some lower-left corner of the $\mathrm{d}$-block. If I take for ...
33
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2answers
31k views

Why is gold unreactive when only one electron is in the outer shell?

I've been trying to answer my (high school) daughter's questions about the periodic table, and the reactivity series, but we keep hitting gaps in my knowledge. So I showed that the noble gases have a ...
31
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7answers
107k views

Are metallic/ionic bonds weaker than covalent bonds?

In mineralogy class, I was taught that metallic and ionic bonds are weaker than covalent bonds and that's why quartz and diamond have such a high hardness value. However, in organic chemistry class, I ...
28
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1answer
5k views

Why is fluorine a gas, but lithium isn't?

$\ce{F2}$ is a gas, but pure lithium is a solid metal. Why is this? Lithium is much lighter, just 3 protons and 3.9 neutrons (average). Fluorine is much heaver, 9 protons and 10 neutrons.
26
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3answers
21k views

What metals aren't dissolved in/attacked by aqua regia?

Aqua regia (Latin: Royal Water) is one of the strongest acids known in Chemistry, and is capable of dissolving gold and platinum. My copy of the Oxford science dictionary goes on to say (under the ...
26
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2answers
31k views

Why does the 3rd electron shell start filling up with scandium?

The electron configuration of calcium is 2, 8, 8, 2, where up to that point each shell, asides from the first shell counts up to 8 - why then does scandium have an electron configuration of 2, 8, 9, 2?...
23
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2answers
3k views

Why do the alkali metals form different products upon combustion in air?

From Wikipedia's article on sodium: When burned in dry air, it forms primarily sodium peroxide with some sodium oxide. We know that sodium has a strong reducing capacity, so why does it produce a ...
23
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1answer
5k views

Could milk rust a steel teaspoon?

Recently, while cleaning a neighbour's fridge (turned off for a few weeks), I came across a cup (closed with a lid). Inside the cup was, to my olfactory horror, congealed milk, with a steel (iron) ...
23
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1answer
1k views

How to think of solvated electrons?

This excellent answer explains at length what's happening in this fascinating video entitled Liquid Electrons - Periodic Table of Videos. In the screenshot below, the metallic-looking solvated ...
23
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3answers
6k views

Solutions of Group 1 and Group 2 metals in Ammonia

When we add Group-1 and Group-2 metals to liquid ammonia, they dissolve to form metal cations and solvated electrons. $$\ce{M + NH3(liq) -> M+ + e-}$$ Now, when the G-1 solutions evaporate, we ...
22
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4answers
26k views

Are there colorful metals besides gold and copper?

Are there yellow metals besides gold? Are there metals with color different than yellow and grey/silver or reddish?
22
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4answers
13k views

Platinum group metals: Why are platinum and palladium great catalysts and not the others?

Platinum and palladium are great catalysts. At the same time, other metals of the so-called platinum group metals are not. What are the atomic level reasons for this?
22
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1answer
16k views

Can metals have a net negative charge

Normal metals like sodium or Calcium have a positive charge as $\ce{Na}^+$ or $\ce{Ca}^{2+}$. Transition metals have a loot of variable oxidation states. Yesterday I read about Iridium in Wikipedia ...
21
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1answer
6k views

What causes the iridescent colour in laboratory grown bismuth?

Artificially grown bismuth crystals are arguably magnificent, as seen in the image below: Image source: Minerals.net The website states that: They have hopper-like growths in pseudocubic crystals ...
21
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2answers
16k views

What is the smell of 'burning' metal?

When a pass a construction site where someone is welding two pieces of metal together there is a very distinct smell that I associate with 'burning' metal, although I am not quite sure it is burning ...
21
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2answers
551 views

Why are lithides not known?

In the last few decades, many alkalides - anions of alkali metals - have been synthesised. The most famous is undoubtedly that of sodium: $\ce{[Na(\text{2.2.2-cryptand})]+Na-}$, but the alkalides $\ce{...
20
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3answers
3k views

Why is gold so popular in nanotechnology?

Gold is a very popular metal in nanotechnology. It is often used as a substrate in electronic applications, as a core of functionalized nanoparticles, and more. Why is gold so attractive? Why are ...
20
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3answers
14k views

Why are Group 11 elements unreactive?

Group 11 metals namely $\ce{Cu, Ag, Au}$ are known for their low reactivities. They are thus rightly called coinage metals and have been historically used to make currency owing to this very property ...
19
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4answers
11k views

Why is it that the least reactive metals are the best electrical conductors?

Silver, Gold and Platinum are amongst the best conductors of electricity, but also the amongst the most unreactive. Since electrical conductivity depends on the number of delocalized electrons (along ...
18
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3answers
86k views

Why does zinc react with sodium hydroxide?

If zinc is less reactive than sodium, then why does it still react with sodium hydroxide?
18
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5answers
10k views

Turn lead into gold via radioactive decay

I was looking at the isotope's table and noticed that one of lead's isotopes can actually turn into stable gold through the following mechanism: $$\ce{_{82}^{197}Pb -> _{81}^{197}Tl -> _{80}^{...
17
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6answers
50k views

Painting metal, does it matter if all rust is removed before?

In the context of automobile repair work, assume a metal surface has rust on it. Does it matter if all of the rust is removed before the metal surface is painted? If it does matter, then why? It ...
16
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3answers
5k views

Why did the salt on the skin of my turkey react with the aluminum foil it was touching?

I sprinkled salt on my turkey skin and left it to dry out over night. It was covered with aluminum foil. The next morning the aluminum foil had holes ‘burnt’ in it and the turkey skin turned silver at ...
16
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1answer
1k views

What is happening in this video of solvated electrons donated from sodium in ammonia?

I just saw the Periodic Video Liquid Electrons - Periodic Table of Videos where sodium is added to liquid ammonia. The demonstration shows that even if electrons are solvated, if you have a high ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Why does mercury form polycations?

For example, mercury (I) is $\ce{Hg2^2+}$ and not $\ce{Hg+}$. What causes the stability in covalently bonded $\ce{Hg}$ ions?
16
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3answers
624 views

Disproportionation of Au(II)

$\ce{Cu(II)}$ and $\ce{Ag(II)}$ complexes are known to exist while $\ce{Au(II)}$ is unstable and disproportionates to $\ce{Au(I)}$ and $\ce{Au(III)}$. My guess as to possible reasons to this effect ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Mercury metal: Not toxic?

Now I (and most of us here, I guess) have grown up around "Mercury's toxic! Avoid handling it! Do NOT screw around with this thing, if you value your life" and other equally heartening pieces of ...
15
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4answers
10k views

How could I cause metal to rust rapidly?

I'm writing a novel set in the mid-nineteenth century. One of my characters needs to cause an iron padlock to rust rapidly, ideally within a matter of hours. The lock doesn't need to rust away ...
15
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2answers
4k views

Why are noble metals more electronegative then most metals?

I was researching about electronegativity when I looked up what a graph of electronegativity within the periodic table is. And, this appeared. I scanned it, matching up everything I knew about the ...
15
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1answer
566 views

What chemical characteristics give types of steel their properties?

I am a mechanical engineer, and just like everyone else I had classes on the crystal structure of metals, phase diagrams, and the various heat treatments. However, even after diving back into that ...
14
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3answers
1k views

How is hair tissue mineral analysis performed?

This might be a mixed chemistry / physics question, but I've always wondered what methods were used to precisely determine the levels down to trace amounts of all minerals in human tissues. I know ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Do there exist metals that are composed of molecules?

Most metals are composed of pure elements or are alloys (mixtures of pure elements.) Are there metals that are composed of one type of molecule that is metallically bonded together? The difference ...
13
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5answers
51k views

Which side of an aluminum foil should I put in contact with food?

Aluminum foil has two sides: a matte one, and a shiny one. My question is: which one should I put in contact with food? Criteria are lowest risk of toxicity and best qualities for food preservation (...
13
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1answer
4k views

How different concentration of HCl on magnesium affect the enthalpy change

I had conducted an experiment where I reacted a $0.3\ \mathrm{g}$ strip of magnesium with $100\ \mathrm{mL}$ of varying concentrations of $\ce{HCl}$: $1\ \mathrm{mol/L}$, $2\ \mathrm{mol/L}$ and $3\ \...
12
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5answers
16k views

Why don't metals form covalent bonds in bulk metal?

I really don't understand why metals form metallic bonds. I mean, it makes no sense. It would make much more sense for them to form covalent bonds with themselves and have a 'pseudo-full' outer shell. ...
12
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1answer
479 views

Jahn-Teller Metal : The new state of matter

Recently it came in the news that scientists have discovered a new state of matter called Jahn-Teller metal. I tried reading up on it but couldn't understand it clearly. Please explain in simple ...
11
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4answers
14k views

What is the product of a copper and vinegar reaction?

I put a copper wire through a hole in the cap of a water bottle, filled the water bottle ~ half way full with vinegar, and left it over night. The part of the wire inside the bottle that wasn't in ...
11
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1answer
13k views

Why does HNO3 not give off H2 when reacting with Cu?

A dilute solution of which acid is most likely to produce a reduction product other than $\ce{H_{2}}$ when it reacts with a metal? (A) $\ce{HF}$ (B) $\ce{HCl}$ (C) $\ce{HNO3} $ ...
11
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3answers
59k views

What is charge density?

For example, Magnesium has a higher charge density compared to Sodium, therefore its metallic lattice is stronger and it has a higher melting point. Does that mean that Magnesium has more protons and ...
11
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3answers
6k views

Alloys for inkless metal pen

What alloys can be used to make a metal pencil like this one?
11
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1answer
9k views

Why does magnesium have an exceptionally low melting point?

Why does magnesium have a lower melting point than both calcium and beryllium? It does not seem to fit into the group trend.
11
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3answers
787 views

What metal is this?

Does anyone know what metal this is? (right click -> "Open image in new tab" for larger image) It has to be one of the following: magnesium, aluminum, zinc, tin, antimony, lead. This metal was found ...
10
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1answer
4k views

Gaseous metals?

Metals form metallic bonds which explain many of their chemical and physical properties. This is most familiar in the solid state but metallic properties are still quite recognizable in the liquid ...
10
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4answers
4k views

Which electrodes do not corrode at all?

I had used spare pieces of metal to perform electrolysis. They all had the disadvantage that they corrode when used as anode - and some of the oxides are toxic (copper, chromium). I've found that ...
10
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2answers
199 views

Why does a pickled gherkin glow only at one end when a current is passed through it?

I recently saw this Periodic Video. The Professor (Martin Polyakoff) notes that, The Gherkin normally glows only at one end due to excitation of $\ce{Na+}$ ions. The end which glows can either be ...
10
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2answers
21k views

What is the difference between tempering and hardening metals and their end products?

I think I've heard hardening is when you dunk red-hot metal into cold water, and tempering is when you take that hardened metal, heat it slightly, and then let it cool slowly. However what is the ...
10
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1answer
6k views

Why is the 5d orbital instead of the 4f orbital filled in lanthanum?

For orbitals with the same value of $n + l$ (e.g. the $\mathrm{3d}$ and $\mathrm{4p}$ orbitals), we usually expect the orbital with the lower value of $n$ to be filled earlier. Hence, for example, the ...
10
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2answers
15k views

Why is copper a better conductor than iron?

So metals are good conductors as the electron in their outer shell is loose and can plunge out of the atom with the application of the slightest force(voltage). Silver is the best metallic conductor, ...
10
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2answers
756 views

Brass Instrument: Dezincification or just scrubbed off?

I do own a brass instrument (a trombone). The lacquer is damaged. I asked how to deal with it here. Now I learned that the brass contains zinc, and there is a corrosion process called "...

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