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Metallic Character

Metallic Character and Periodic Table Trends

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Metallic character refers to chemical properties associated with metals.

Metallic character refers to chemical properties associated with metals.

U.S. Geological Survey

Learn what is meant by the metallic character of an element and how metallic character changes as you move across a period or down a group in the periodic table.

What Is Metallic Character?

Metallic character is the name given to the set of chemical properties associated with elements that are metals. These chemicals properties result from how readily metals lose their electrons. Metallic character includes the ability to be reduced (e.g., participate in the thermite reaction), formation of ionic chlorides and basic oxides, and the ability to displace hydrogen from dilute acids.

Metallic Character and Periodic Table Trends

There are trends in metallic character as you move across and down the periodic table. Metallic character decreases as you move across a period in the periodic table from left to right. This occurs as atoms more readily accept electrons to fill a valence shell than lose them to remove the unfilled shell. Metallic character increases as you move down an element group in the periodic table. This is because electrons become easier to lose as the atomic radius increases, where there is less attraction between the nucleus and the valence electrons because of the increased distance between them.

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