Home Page Matter Atoms Elements Reactions Biochemistry Activities Chem4kids Sections Search
Elements and Periodic Table

Metal Basics

Many metals are in the periodic table We wanted to give you a big overview of metals before we get into details about specific families. Almost 75% of all elements are classified as metals. They are not all like silver (Ag), gold (Au), or platinum (Pt). Those are the very cool and shiny ones. There are other metals like potassium (K) and iridium (Ir) that you might not think about right away.

Many Kinds of Metals

How many kinds of metals are there? So many. Don't even try to memorize them all. Just remember the ones you might need in class. Here's a quick list: Actinide Metals, Lanthanide Metals, Alkali Metals, Alkaline-Earth Metals, Rare Metals, Rare-Earth Metals, and Transition Metals. Remember, that's the easy list. Lucky for you, the periodic table is excellent at organizing elements, and you will find each of these groups in specific areas of the periodic table.

How Do You Identify a Metal?

Bronze was one of the first alloys created by humans. What are the characteristics of metals? We've got four traits that will help you identify whether an element is a metal or not:

1. Conduction: Metals are good at conducting electricity. Silver (Ag) and copper (Cu) are some of the most efficient metals and are often used in electronics.

2. Reactivity: Metals are very reactive, some more than others, but most form compounds with other elements quite easily. Sodium (Na) and potassium (K) are some of the most reactive metals. A metal like iron (Fe) forms iron oxide (Fe2O3), which you know as rust.

3. Chemical: It gets a little complex here. Metals usually make positive ions when the compounds are dissolved in solution. Also, their metallic oxides make hydroxides (bases) (OH-), and not acids, when in solution. Think about this example: When sodium chloride (NaCl) is dissolved in water (H2O), it breaks apart into sodium (Na+) and chlorine (Cl-) ions. Do you see how that sodium is the positive ion? Sodium is the metal. It works that way for other metals. Potassium chlorine (KCl) works the same way. When it is dissolved, the potassium ion (K+) is the positive ion.

4. Alloys: Metals are easily combined. Mixtures of many metallic elements are called alloys. Examples of alloys are steel and bronze.

Next Stop On Chem4Kids Tour
Next Page on Elements

- Overview
- Periodic Table
- Element List
- Families
- Halogens
- Noble Gases
> Metals
- Alkali Metals
- Alkaline Earth
- Transition Metals
- Lanthanide
- Actinide


Link to Link to Link to Link to Link to Link to Rader Network Side Navigation


Science Nation: Metal Foam (US-NSF Video)
- or -

Elements Quiz

Periodic Table Quiz

Useful Reference Materials
Encyclop├Ždia Britannica:
Books on
- Prentice Hall Chemistry (Wilbraham)
- Chemistry (McMurry)
- Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change (Silberberg)
- Books About the Periodic Table
- Introductory Chemistry: A Foundation (Zumdahl)

- Chem4Kids: Alkali Metals
- Biology4Kids: Scientific Method
- Geography4Kids: Element Cycles
- Geography4Kids: Biosphere
- Physics4Kids: Radioactivity
- Cosmos4Kids: Star Formation
- Cosmos4Kids: The Universe
- Cosmos4Kids: Asteroids
- Cosmos4Kids: Earth

Search for more information...

* The custom search only looks at Rader's sites.

Help Page Go for site help or a list of chemistry topics at the site map!
©copyright 1997-2015 Andrew Rader Studios, All rights reserved.
Current Page: | Elements and the Periodic Table | Metals

** Andrew Rader Studios does not monitor or review the content available at external web sites. They are paid advertisements and neither partners nor recommended web sites. Specific links for books on are only suggested starting points for further research. Please browse, research options, and choose the appropriate materials for your needs.