Metals - Physical Properties of Metals

len Alfred Ajibola - Thu, 25th April, 2019 @ 20:42

Topics in Chemistry

Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, Second Term Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, Third Term Compounds in Chemistry: Characteristics of Compounds Types of Mixture: Homogenous and Heterogeneous Mixtures Mixtures: Characteristics of Mixtures Physical Properties of Matter explained with Examples Chemical Properties of Matter explained with Examples Differences between Physical and Chemical Change Ionic Theory and Electrolysis Physical and Chemical Properties of Acids States of Matter: Characteristics of Solids Liquid State of Matter: Characteristics of Liquids Gaseous State of Matter: Characteristics of Gases Molar Mass, Worked Examples and Differences with Molecular Mass Elements: Characteristics of Elements Salts and Types of Salt in Chemistry Mixtures and Separation of Mixtures Mixtures and Separation of Mixtures - part 2 Mixtures and Separation of Mixtures - part 3

Academic Questions in Chemistry

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

The Separating Funnel is a technique used in the separation of mixtures. Another name for Separating Funnel is the _____ Funnel.

  • A. Partition
  • B. Separatory
  • C. Division
  • D. Liquid
  • E. Half
  • F. Dividing

2NH4+(aq) + Ag+(aq) -> 2H4AgN

The equation above represents _____ acid.

  • A. Svante Arrhenius'

  • B. Brønsted–Lowry's

  • C. Gilbert Lewis'

  • D. Avogadro's

  • E. Sir Isaac Newton's

  • F. Albert Einstein's

According to Brønsted Thomas Martin Lowry, an acid is defined as _____.

  • A. Any substance that produces hydrogen ion (H+) when dissolved in water

  • B. A substance that accepts electron pair in a chemical reaction

  • C. A substance that gives out hydronium ion (H3O+) when dissolved in water

  • D. A substance that donates a proton in a chemical reaction

  • E. A substance that reacts with a base to form salt and water

  • F. A substance whose hydrogen ions  (H+) are displaced after a reaction with metals higher in the activity, reactivity or electrochemical series

Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of chemical change?

  • A. A new thing is formed
  • B. It cannot be easily separated into it's constituents elements
  • C. A new chemical formula accompanies whatever is formed
  • D. The burning of candle is an example of a chemical change
  • E. Blood is an example of a chemical change
  • F. Iron rust is an example of a chemical change

Which of the following statement is FALSE concerning a physical change _____.

  • A. Substances formed in a physical change have a unique chemical formula and IUPAC name
  • B. It's a change that is easily reversible
  • C. It's a change that can be separated via an appropriate separation technique
  • D. No new substance is formed
  • E. A mixture of salt and water is a physical change
  • F. Physical change can result to a change in color and shapes of substances

The following substances will sublime EXCEPT _____.

  • A. Sodium Cryolite
  • B. Solid Carbon(IV)oxide
  • C. Arsenic
  • D. Sulphur
  • E. Iodine Crystals
  • F. Naphthalene

Which of the following is a state of matter?

  • A. Ions
  • B. Plasma
  • C. Compounds
  • D. Molecules
  • E. Atoms
  • F. None of the above

The ideal way of separating a mixture of blood is through _____.

  • A. Chromatography
  • B. Fractional Distillation
  • C. Centrifugation
  • D. Filtration
  • E. Separating Funnel
  • F. Fractional Crystallization



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Before we look into the physical properties of metals, it will be great if we first understood what metals really are.

Majority of the naturally occurring elements on earth are metals. They normally do not exist in their pure form because rocks, sand and other earthen particles are mixed with them.

Metals are called ore in their impure state; for instance iron ore, tin ore and zinc ore.

Please read on Mixtures and Separation of Mixtures here.

When extracted from the earth, they need to be purified before being used for the various beautiful things around us like airplanes, cars, engine and so on. A method of Metal purification is via a process termed electrolysis

Please read on the Introduction to Electrolysis here.

Note: Metals are generally solids at room temperature.

Metals will normally lose electrons(s) to form positive ions (called cations) in a chemical reaction. They are thus electropositive elements.

Please read on the Periodic Table of Elements here


Physical Properties of Metals

Ideally, one of the ways to identify an object is through its physical properties or characteristics; and metals are no exception.

Note: Metals have also got chemical properties too.

You can read on the Chemical Properties of Matter here

Below are the physical properties or characteristics of metals:


  • State

They exist in the solid state at room temperature.

The metal Mercury is an exception because it exist in the liquid state at room temperature.

Please read on the Solid State of Matter and their Characteristics here.


  • Density / Mass / Weight

They generally have high densities. Of all metals, Lithium has the lowest density while Osmium has the highest density.

Please read on Density here.


  • Conductors

With regards to heat and electricity, a metal is an object that can transfer heat and electricity. Metals are generally good conductors of heat and electricity.

Note: Metal conducts heat through a process termed conduction.

Lead is the poorest conductor of heat while Bismuth is the poorest conductor of electricity.

The metal Silver is the greatest conductor of both heat and electricity.

Please read on Heat Transfer via Conduction here.


  • Luster

This is a feature that has to do with the state or quality of being able to be polished and the ability to shine, glow, sparkle, glitter or reflect light. Metals generally have the luster quality.


  • Malleability

Malleability is the ability of an object to withstand the process of hammering; such that it can be bent or flattened and eventually made into thin sheets called foils.

Metals are able to take different shapes because of their malleability feature. Gold is the most malleable metal.

You can read Interesting Facts on Gold here.


  • Ductility

Being ductile is the ability of an object to be drawn into wires. For instance, copper wires and aluminium wires are wires drawn from copper and aluminium respectively.

Metals are generally ductile; and Platinum is the most ductile of all.


  • Magnetism

Most Metals are generally poor magnets.

Note: A metal like Iron is well magnetised.


  • Melting Point

The melting point (also called liquefaction point) of a substance is that point at which it changes from solid to liquid.

Metals generally have high melting points.

The metal Tungsten (W) has got the highest melting point at 3422°C while Mercury (Hg) has the lowest melting point at -38.829°F.

Please read on the Physical Properties of Matter here.


  • Boiling Points

The boiling point of a liquid is the temperature at which the vapour pressure of the liquid equals the external atmospheric pressure.

When metals are heated, they melt into liquid before they start to boil. Metals generally have high boiling points.

Since mercury exists as liquid, it has the lowest boiling point of all metals.

The metal Tungsten has got the highest boiling point at 3422°C.

Please read on the Concept of Heat and Temperature here.


  • Hardness

With the exception of Lithium (Li), Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K) which are soft metals, most metals are grenerally hard.


  • Color

Most metals come in a variety of colors while some are opaque. Below are some colors of metals:

  1. Gold: Color is Gold.
  2. Silver: Color is Silver.
  3. Platinum: Color is Gray.
  4. Copper: Color is Copper.
  5. Lead: Color is SlateGray.
  6. Sodium: Color is Silver.
  7. Aluminium: Color is Silver.

Note: Most metals are coloured silver.


  • Sonorous

This is the ability of an object to make sound. Metals are generally sonorous.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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Amazing facts in Chemistry

The only letters that failed to appear on the periodic table are letters:

J     &     Q

Gold and copper are the only two non-silvery colored metals.

Please read some interesting facts about gold here

Copper is the only metal that is naturally antibacterial. This is why you would see some children utilize 'copper' water bottles in schools

Water actually freezes faster when it’s warm than when it’s cold

Most element in their pure state exists physically in different forms. For instance, pure carbon can exist as both diamond and graphite. This phenomenon is called allotropy.

Please read on modification of Dalton's atomic theory here.

If you pour a handful of salt into a full glass of water, the water level will go down rather than overflowing the glass.

Similarly, if you mix half liter of water and half litre of alcohol, the total volume of the liquid will be les than one litre