CIE IGCSE Chemistry

Revision Notes

10.1.1 Properties of Metals

Physical & Chemical Properties of Metals

Physical _ Chemical Properties of Metals table, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notes

 

 

Structure & bonding in a metal, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry & Physics revision notesDiagram showing bonding and structure in metals

 

General chemical properties of metals

  • The chemistry of metals is studied by analysing their reactions with water, dilute acid and oxygen
  • Based on these reactions, a reactivity series of metals can be produced

Reactivity with water

  • Some metals react with water, either warm or cold, or with steam
  • Metals that react with cold water form a metal hydroxide and hydrogen gas, for example calcium:
Ca + 2H2O → Ca(OH)2 + H2
  • Metals that react with steam form metal oxide and hydrogen gas, for example zinc:
Zn + H2O → ZnO + H2

Reactivity with acids

  • Most metals react with dilute acids such as HCl
  • When acids and metals react, the hydrogen atom in the acid is replaced by the metal atom to produce a salt and hydrogen gas, for example iron:
Fe + 2HCI → FeCl2 + H2

Reactivity with oxygen

  • Unreactive metals such as gold and copper do not react with acids
  • Some reactive metals such as the alkali metals react with oxygen
  • Copper and iron can also react with oxygen although much more slowly
  • When metals react with oxygen a metal oxide is formed, for example copper:
2Cu + O2 → 2CuO

Structure & Uses of Alloys

  • An alloy is a mixture of two or more metals or a metal and a nonmetal
  • Alloys often have properties that can be very different to the metals they contain, for example they can have more strength, hardness or resistance to corrosion or extreme temperatures
  • Alloys contain atoms of different sizes, which distorts the normally regular arrangements of atoms in metals
  • This makes it more difficult for the layers to slide over each other, so alloys are usually much harder than the pure metal

 

Structure of alloy, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notesThe regular arrangement of a metal lattice structure is distorted in alloys

 

Common alloys and their uses

  • Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is much stronger than either metal
  • Alloys of iron with tungsten are extremely hard and resistant to high temperatures
  • Alloys of iron mixed with chromium or nickel are resistant to corrosion
  • Aluminium is mixed with copper, manganese and silicon for aircraft body production as the alloy is stronger but still has a low density

Exam Tip

Alloys are mixtures of substances, they are not chemically combined and an alloy is not a compound.

Author: Morgan

Morgan’s passion for the Periodic Table begun on his 10th birthday when he received his first Chemistry set. After studying the subject at university he went on to become a fully fledged Chemistry teacher, and now works in an international school in Madrid! In his spare time he helps create our fantastic resources to help you ace your exams.
Close

Join Save My Exams

Download all our Revision Notes as PDFs

Try a Free Sample of our revision notes as a printable PDF.

Join Now