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f-Block: Actinoids - General Characteristics And Applications Of D And F Block Elements

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f-Block: Actinoids - General Characteristics And Applications Of D And F Block Elements - Lesson Summary

Physical properties of the actinoids:

  • They are all silvery metals.
  • These are highly reactive metals.
  • They tarnish in air due to the formation of an oxide coating.

Chemical properties of the actinoids:

  • They react with hot water to give a mixture of an oxide and a hydride.

                  6An            +           8O2               →             2An3O8
              Actinoid                     Oxygen                       Actinoid oxide
                    An             +              2X2            →              AnX4
              Actinoid                     Halogens                     Actinoid halide

                   2An             +              3H2          →             2AnH3
             Actinoid                        Hydrogen                    Actinoid hydride

  • They react readily with HCl, but its reaction with other acids is slower than expected.
  • These are basic and do not react with sodium hydroxide.
  • They react with oxygen, halogens and with hydrogen.

Applications of the d- block elements:

Iron and its alloy, steel, are used extensively in the construction industry.

Titanium is used in aircraft and spaceship manufacture.

Tungsten is used to make electrical filaments.

Manganese dioxide is used in dry battery cells.

Zinc is used as the negative electrode in sealed dry batteries.

Niobium alloys are used in jet engines.

Tantalum is used to make analytical weights.

Silver bromide is used in photography.

Many transition metals and their compounds are used as catalysts in the chemical industry.


Ziegler-Natta, a complex of titanium tetrachloride and trimethyl aluminium used in the polymerisation of ethene to polythene.

Iron used in Haber's process for the production of ammonia.

Palladium chloride used in the Wacker process of oxidation of ethane to ethanal.

CH2 = CH2 + H2O + ½O2    →      CH3CHO + H2O
    Ethene                             CuCl2      Ehanal

Applications of f-block elements:

Alloys of lanthanides (misch-metals) used for the production of heat-resistant and instrumental steels.

Borides, carbides and nitrides of lanthanides are used as refractories.

Lanthanide oxides are used as abrasives for polishing glass.

Thorium is used in the treatment of cancer and in incandescent gas mantles.

Uranium is used as a nuclear fuel.

Plutonium is used in atomic reactors and in atomic bombs.


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