Uses of transition elements in our lives. - Termantino

Uses of transition elements in our lives. 259

Whether it is creating currency that may not be easily replicated, new coins, the beautiful oscar statues or manufacturing mechanical bodies and satellites shutters, the transition metals play a crucial role. The d-block transition metals have great importance in our lives. Transition metals are found everywhere on earth in various amounts. Most are found as pure substances but rather as minerals buried in Earth’s crust.

Take a look at how this transition elements are shaping our lives.



Cobalt’s uses range from health and nutrition to industry. Cobalt along with aluminium and nickel is used to manufacture Alnico. Alnico is a powerful magnet. Alnico is an acronym referring to a family of iron alloys which in addition to iron are composed primarily of aluminium (Al), nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co). Cobalt is used in electroplating, a process in which a layer of material is applied to an object to give it a particular aesthetic or protective quality. Cobalt provides objects with an attractive surface that forbid rusting. It is also used to produce brilliant blue colors like cobalt blues in paint, glass and pottery materials.

blue colors are produced by cobalt salts. source: khan academy.


Copper is the 29th element on the periodic table.Copper is known as a coinage metal. Its anti-corrision properties make it popular for coins. Copper sulphate is used extensively as a fungicide and algaecide.Copper is used in electrical equipment and as wiring as it conducts both heat and electricity very well, and can be drawn into wires. It is also used in construction and industrial machinery. Recovery of copper from scrap metal is an essential part of the copper industry for economic and environmental reasons. A solution of ammonia and ammonium chloride in presence of oxygen is used to etch copper in printed circuit boards.

3. Niobium and Tantalum.

Niobium alloys are used majorly in the aviation industry for making engine parts.Niobium has superconducting properties and is used in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) equipment while tantalum is used in the production of electronic components. An oxide layer on the surface of tantalum acts as an insulating layer making it resistant to corrosion and appropriate for handling corrosive materials. Tantalum being inert is used in making surgical implants replacing bone in skull plates, connecting torn nerves as a wire,etc.

Siemens - MRI - 3T MRI Scanners - MAGNETOM Vida
Tantalum single crystal and 1cm3 cube.jpg
tantalum. source:

4. Yttrium and Lanthanum.

Yttrium and Lanthanum are soft silvery metals. Yttrium-Aluminium Garnet (YAG) laser can cut through metals. It is also used in white LED lights.Yttrium oxide is added to the glass used to make camera lenses to make them heat and shock resistant. Lanthanum is added to camera lenses to improve clarity. Lanthanum is also found in anode of nickel metal hydride batteries used in hybrid cars.

Panasonic to Supply Nickel Metal Hydride Battery Systems for Subaru First Hybrid Electric Vehicle

5. Zirconium and hafnium.

Zirconium and hafnium occur together naturally and are difficult to separate. Zirconium is a poor neutron absorber and is used to clad fuel rods in the nuclear power reactor but care has to be taken to separate it from hafnium which is very good neutron absorber. It is resistant to acids and alkalis due to a protective coating of the oxide formed on it. Zircon, a semi-precious colorless gemstone when cut resembles a diamond. Zircon mixed with vanadium forms a blue coloured pigment while when mixed with praseodymium forms a yellow pigment both used for glazing pottery.

glazed pottery. source:



Nichrome is an alloy of nickel and chromium with small amounts of siicon, manganese and iron and is used in toasters and electric ovens. Monel metal (68% Ni and 32% Cu) is used in desalination plants and in stainless steel armour plants. The rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries and nickel metal hybride batteries are extensively used in portable appliances. Finely divided nickel is used as a catalyst for hydrogenating vegetable oils.

7. Technetium.

Technetium is a radioactive metal that does not occur naturally. It is a by-product of fission of uranium nuclear fuel. It is used as radiodiagnostic.The term here diagnosis means to find out what is wrong with a person. Technetium is also used in steel alloys.


Rhenium is rare and generally found with molybdenum ores. Rhenium alloyed with tungsten and molybdenum is used as oven filaments and in x-ray machines. Rhenium catalysts are extremely resistant to poisoning (deactivation) and are used for the hydrogenation of fine chemicals. Some rhenium is used in nickel alloys to make single-crystal turbine blades.

oven filaments illustrated.


A major amount of the cadmium produced is used in nickel-cadmium batteries which are gradually being phased out due to the carcinogenic nature of the metal. Compounds like CdSe and CdTe are semiconductors. CdS and CdTe quantum dots have also been prepared. Cadmium sulphide, a bright yellow pigment and cadmium sulfoselenide, an orange pigment are extensively in paints.


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