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Inner Transition Metals

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Inner transition elements are those in which f-orbitals are progressively filled. In lanthanoids 4f-orbitals and in actinides 5f-orbitals are filled up. All the elements in f-block are metals and they are also called inner transition elements. The elements of the two series at the bottom of the periodic table together form the f-block elements. The atoms of f-block elements have their last three shells incompletely filled. The f-block consists of thirty elements.


In the elements of the sixth and seventh periods, f sub shell orbitals exist and can be filled. The elements for which f sub shells are filling are sometimes called the inner transition elements or most usually lanthanides and actinides. The lanthanides start with lanthanum which has the electron configuration [Xe] 5d6s2.

Inner Transition Metals Definition

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The type of element similar to the transition elements but differs from the regular transition elements in that they have three outermost incomplete shells called inner transition elements, they not only have incomplete d-levels but they also have incomplete f-levels.
The two rows of elements at the bottom of the periodic table are called inner transition elements. The first row is referred to as the lanthanides the second row as the actinides. Some of the inner transition elements are synthetic not found in nature.

Periodic Table Inner Transition Metals

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Inner transition elements are kept at the bottom of the periodic table. The differentiating electron enters the anti penultimate f-sub shell. It consists of only metals. Inner transition elements are all metals. In modern periodic table these 30 elements are placed in two separate series at the bottom of the periodic table.
Inner Transition Elements

The two series are called lanthanides that have atomic atomic number from 57 to 71 and actinides having atomic numbers from 89 to 103. The series actinides contains some synthetic elements that do not occur in nature but are prepared in the laboratories. These synthetic elements exist for a brief period of time.

The atoms of inner transition elements have their outermost three shells incompletely filled. The inner transition elements form the f-block elements.

Inner Transition Metals List

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The list of inner transition elements comprising of lanthanides are given below.

S.No
Element
Symbol
1
Cerium
Ce
2
Praseodymium
Pr
3
Neodymium
Nd
4
Promethium
Pm
5
Samarium
Sm
6
Europium
Eu
7
Gadolinium
Gd
8
Terbium
Tb
9
Dysprosium
Dy
10
Holmium
Ho
11
Erbium
Er
12
Thulium
Tm
13
Ytterbium
Yb
14 Lutetium
Lu

List of inner transition elements actinides are given below.

S.No
Element
Symbol
1
Thorium Th
2
Protactinium
Pa
3
Uranium
U
4
Neptunium
Np
5
Plutonium
Pu
6
Americium Am
7
Curium Cm
8
Berkelium
Bk
9
Californium
Cf
10
Einsteinium Es
11
Fermium
Fm
12
Mendelevium
Md
13 Nobelium No
14
Lawrencium
Lr

Inner Transition Metals Properties

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The Inner Transition Metals Characteristics are given below.

1. Electronic configuration

The electronic configuration if the lanthanides is (6-2)f1-14(6-1)d0-16s2. Lanthanides series begins at cerium (Z=58) and ends at lutetium (Z=71). Similarly the electronic configuration of actinides is (7-2)f1-14(7-1)d0-17s2. Actinides series begins at thorium (Z=90) and ends at lawrencium (Z=103).

2. Oxidation states

The main oxidation state exhibited by all the lanthanides is +3. Some elements also show +2 and +4states but +3 is more stable. Actinides shoe the common oxidation states of +2, +3, +4, +5 and +6.Most common is the +3 oxidation state.

3. Color

Most of the compounds are colored in both solid as well as in aqueous solution.
  • Colorless - La, Ce, Lu, Yb, Gd
  • Green - Pr, Tm
  • Pale pink - Eu, Tb
  • Pink - Er, Nd
  • Yellow - Sm, Dy

4. Magnetic properties

The elements are paramagnetic in nature as they have unpaired electrons.

Paramagnetic nature $\propto$ Number of unpaired electrons

La, Lu and Ce have no unpaired electron so they are diamagnetic in nature.

5. Chemical reactivity

All the elements have almost same reactivity due to the fact that 4f electrons in lanthanides are very effectively shielded from the interaction with other elements by overlapping 5s, 5p, 6s electrons. Due to their similar nature of reactivity they occur together and their separation is difficult.

According to chemical metallurgy it deals with the extraction of metals from naturally occurring compounds and their refinement to levels of purity suitable for commercial use. The chemical metallurgy extends further to deal with all the chemical properties of metals including those pertaining to the formation of alloys by uniting one metal with other metals or non metals.
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Transition Elements

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A transition element may be defined as one which possesses partially filled d-orbitals in its penultimate shell. This conceptual definition is useful as it enables us to recognize a transition element merely by looking at its electronic configuration.

The transition elements show some well defined horizontal similarities in physical and chemical properties in contrast the s and p block elements as well as typical vertical group relationship.
Three series of elements are formed by filling the 3d, 4d and 5d sub shells of electrons. Together these elements comprise the d-block of elements. They are generally called "transition elements" because their position in periodic table is between the s-block and p-block elements. Their properties are transitional between the highly reactive metallic elements of s-block which typically form ionic compounds, and the elements of p-block which are non-metallic and form covalent compounds.
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The elements constituting the f-block are those in which 4f and 5f orbitals are progressively filled. These elements are formal members of group 3 but are shown separately as f-block of the periodic table. The elements of f-block are also called inner transition elements. The two series of inner transition elements that is 4f and 5f series are known as lanthanides and actinides respectively. The inner transition elements such as U, Th and Pa are proving good sources of nuclear energy.
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Photochemistry would include reactions produced by all radiations of wave lengths ranging from those of radio waves to chose $\gamma$ rays. But for practical purposes the light radiations of the visible and ultraviolet regions lying between 2000 to 8000 Ao are mainly concerned in bringing about such reactions which are termed as photochemical reactions.
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The inner transition elements are those with underlying incomplete f-orbitals. Two series of such elements are known the first of which is called lanthanide series. It comprises of fourteen elements following lanthanum are called lanthanides.

The second series is known as actinide series (5f). Like the lanthanides this series also comprises fourteen elements and is placed in the seventh period in the periodic table.
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