Friday, May 6, 2011

Transitioning To Real Metals

Look again at the "long form" of the Periodic Table:

click to enlarge
I've already blogged through three layers of the so-called main group elements, which are the two bluish colored blocks of elements bookending the reddish elements "inside." With reference to the very top left, calcium has the coordinates 4 down and 2 across. To get to the next element to the right, we have to jump the gap across the red rare earth metals and the underlying (and notorious) actinides to the first pink element, scandium.

Scandium is the first of the so-called transition metals, named from the Latin, transire = to go across or to cross over. The metaphor is that we're "crossing over" on our way back to the right-hand block of main group elements. Destination: krypton.

That's about all I want to say about scandium. But guess where it was discovered?  Yep. And by somebody named Lars even. Link


  1. What are the characteristic differences between Sc and Ti?

  2. Scandium is often lumped with the rare earths because it behaves like one chemically. Titanium at least has some interesting catalytic properties beside just being a white paint pigment. Both elements form metallocenes.

    I am rather ignorant about the two element's metallic properties and would have to read up on it myself. As you know, metallic elements can be very distinct, especially when used as alloys.

    Now you've got me curious. I'll get back to you. Blogdriver.

  3. Ti seems to have a lot of the same properties as a ceramic while being a metal. I wondered if Scandium fell into that same pot.

  4. Titanium is a miracle metal, with an emphasis on Ziegler-Natta olefin polymerization.

    Scandium seems to to have many fewer uses and the Russkies seem to have cornered the market on its production.

  5. Darn those pesky Russians.