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d Block Elements

Last Updated : 16 Nov, 2023
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D-block elements are the elements in which the last electron enters the d subshell. d Block elements are situated at the middle of the periodic table, and act as a bridge between metal and non-metals in the periodic table. These elements, also known as transition elements, play a significant role in shaping our fundamental understanding of chemical principles.

In this article, we will learn about d-block elements in detail exploring their electron configurations, providing examples along with their properties and applications, and examining their historical context.

What Are d Block Elements in Chemistry?

D-block elements, also known as transition metals, are a group of elements that occupy the d-block in the periodic table. They reside in the central part of the table, spanning groups 3 to 12 and periods 4 to 7. These elements play a pivotal role in various chemical reactions due to their electron configurations and variable oxidation states. For example, the element Chromium (Cr) has an electron configuration of [Ar] 4s1 3d5, where the last electron enters the 3d subshell. This unique arrangement leads to the forming of various oxidation states, a defining characteristic of these elements.

D Block Elements Definition

d-block elements are the elements in which the last electron enters the d-subshell. The electron configuration of d-block elements typically follows the pattern [preceding period noble gas] ns1-2 (n–1) d1-10 with valence electrons residing in the penultimate d subshell.

D Block Elements in Periodic Table

D-block elements are strategically located between the s-block and p-block elements in Periodic Table. This central position reflects their transitional role in the periodic table, connecting elements with distinct chemical behaviours.


Example of d Block Elements

Scandium (Sc): Scandium is a d-block element appreciated for its lightweight and high strength. It is used in aerospace applications, where its combination of properties makes it an ideal choice for lightweight structural components in aircraft.

Vanadium (V): Vanadium finds use in steel alloys, where its addition enhances strength and corrosion resistance. It’s commonly used in manufacturing high-strength steel for applications like tools, springs, and engine components.

Titanium (Ti): Titanium is known for its remarkable strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance. It’s extensively used in aerospace and medical implants due to its biocompatibility, as well as in sports equipment, such as bicycles and golf clubs.

Chromium (Cr): Chromium’s ability to resist corrosion is a key component in stainless steel production. This type of steel is used in various applications, including kitchen appliances, cutlery, and architectural structures.

Iron (Fe): Iron, one of the most abundant d-block elements, plays a pivotal role in the production of steel used in construction, transportation, and machinery. Additionally, iron is vital in transporting oxygen in the bloodstream as part of haemoglobin.

Zinc (Zn): Zinc is widely used as a protective coating for iron and steel to prevent corrosion. It’s used in galvanization processes for structures like bridges, electrical towers, and automotive parts.

Manganese (Mn): Manganese is a critical element in steel production, where it helps remove impurities and improve the strength and durability of steel. It’s also used in the production of aluminium alloys.

Gold (Au): Gold is known for its beauty and resistance to corrosion. It is highly prized in jewellery and as a store of value, often used in coins and bullion.

Mercury (Hg): Mercury’s unique property of being a liquid at room temperature finds application in barometers, thermometers, and some electrical switches. However, its toxicity has led to a decline in its use in recent years.

d-Block Elements Names

The d-block elements are arranged in 4 periods in the periodic Table. They are in 3d, 4d, 5d and 6d series. The name of d-block elements in these four series are mentioned below:

d Block Elements in 3d Series

  • Scandium
  • Titanium
  • Vanadium
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Cobalt
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Zinc

d-Block Elements in 4d Series

  • Yttrium
  • Zirconium
  • Niobium
  • Molybdenum
  • Technetium
  • Ruthenium
  • Rhodium
  • Palladium
  • Silver
  • Cadmium

d-Block Elements in 5d Series

  • Lanthanum
  • Hafnium
  • Tantalum
  • Tungsten
  • Rhenium
  • Osmium
  • Iridium
  • Platinum
  • Gold
  • Mercury

d-Block in 6d Series

  • Actinium
  • Rutherfordium
  • Hahnium
  • Seaborgium
  • Bohrium
  • Meitnerium
  • Ununnilium
  • Unununium
  • Ununbium

Why d Block Elements Are Called Transition Elements?

The name “transition elements” aptly describes the role of d-block elements in the periodic table. These elements act as a bridge, transitioning from the highly reactive s-block elements to the less reactive p-block elements. Their unique ability to exhibit multiple oxidation states and form complex compounds positions them as essential components in various chemical reactions.

The variable oxidation states of d-block elements exemplify this transition. For instance, iron (Fe) can exist in both +2 and +3 oxidation states, allowing it to participate in redox reactions crucial for various biological processes.

Atomic Structure of d Block Elements

D-block elements has d subshell in their atomic structure. The presence of d-orbitals plays a pivotal role in influencing their chemical behaviour. D-block has a poor shielding effect thus there is net increase in electron nucleus attracting leading to the smaller size as compared to the alkali metals and alkaline earth metals. The d-orbitals’ relatively small energy differences enable multiple oxidation states and a variety of coordination geometries in complex compounds.

D Block Elements Configuration

The general electronic configuration of d-block elements is ns2(n-1)d1-10 where is n is the quantum number of valence shell.
The electron configurations of d-block elements follow a precise pattern, which is crucial for understanding their chemical behaviour. Let’s take the example of the element Vanadium (V). Its electron configuration is [Ar] 4s2 3d3. Here, you can observe how the 3d orbitals play a pivotal role in its chemical properties.

The general electronic configuration for d-block elements in the 3d, 4d, 5d, and 6d series is as follows:

  • 3d series: [Ar] 3d1-10 4s2
  • 4d series: [Kr] 4d1-10 5s2
  • 5d series: [Xe] 5d1-10 6s2
  • 6d series: [Rn] 6d1-10 7s2

Characteristics of d Block Elements

Several unique characteristics distinguish d-block elements:

  • Forming Complex Compounds: They readily form complex compounds, contributing to their versatility in various reactions.
  • Showing Different Color Complexes: D-D transitions lead to the exhibition of various colours in their compounds.
  • Forming Metallic Bonds and Showing Magnetic Properties: The presence of unpaired d-electrons enables them to form metallic bonds and exhibit magnetic properties.

Oxidation State of d Block Elements

D-block elements are renowned for their capacity to display variable oxidation states. For instance, manganese (Mn) can exhibit oxidation states ranging from +2 to +7.

Here is a table illustrating the possible oxidation states for some famous d-block elements:


Oxidation States

Scandium (Sc)

+2, +3

Vanadium (V)

-1, +2, +3, +4, +5

Titanium (Ti)

+2, +3, +4

Chromium (Cr)

-2, -1, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7

Iron (Fe)

-2, -1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6

Zinc (Zn)


Manganese (Mn)

-3, -2, -1, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7

Gold (Au)

+1, +3

Mercury (Hg)

+1, +2

This variability allows them to engage in a wide range of redox reactions and complex formation.

Read More about Oxidation Number.

Properties of d Block Elements

The properties of d Block elements are categorized into following types

  • Physical Properties of d-Block Elements
  • Chemical Properties of d-Block Elements

These Properties are discussed below:

Physical Properties of d-block Elements

D-block elements are known for their high melting points, high density, robustness, and excellent electrical conductivity. These properties make them crucial in various industries, from aerospace to electronics.

Boiling and Melting Points

D-block elements are well-known for their high melting and boiling points. These high values are attributed to the strength of metallic bonds in d-block metals, which arises from their compact and dense atomic structures. The attraction between the positively charged atomic nuclei and the shared electrons is responsible for the remarkable melting and boiling points displayed by these elements.

Magnetic Properties

D-block elements exhibit interesting magnetic properties due to the presence of unpaired electrons in their electron configurations. Elements with unpaired electrons are paramagnetic, which means they are attracted to magnetic fields. This property benefits various applications, such as magnetic data storage devices.

Chemical Properties of d Block Elements

The chemical properties of d-block elements are listed below:

Atomic and Ionic Radii

The atomic radius typically decreases across a period (from left to right in the periodic table) due to increasing nuclear charge and effective nuclear charge, which attracts the electrons closer to the nucleus. However, the atomic radii generally increase down a group (from top to bottom) because of the addition of new energy levels, leading to larger electron clouds. The ionic radii of transition metals and their ions can be crucial in understanding their chemical behaviour and role in various compounds.

Form Stable Complexes

When d-block elements lose or gain electrons to become ions, their ionic radii may vary depending on the number of electrons gained or lost. For example, iron (Fe) can form Fe²⁺ and Fe³⁺ ions, and the ionic radii of these ions differ due to the change in the number of electrons. Due to the presence of d-block they can accommodate much electrons and undergo electron rearrangement to form stable complexes.

Ionization Energy

Ionization energy, the energy required to remove an electron from an atom or ion, is another significant property of d-block elements. Generally, d-block elements have higher ionization energies compared to s-block elements. This is due to the greater effective nuclear charge, which holds the electrons more tightly.

Form Coloured Compounds

The compounds formed by d-block elements are generally coloured in nature. This colour is due to the d-d transition between the elements.

f and d Block Elements

Now, let’s draw a parallel between d-block and f-block elements to appreciate the differences and similarities in their properties.


d-Block Elements

f-Block Elements

Location in Periodic Table


Bottom and Inner Transition

Electron Configuration

[Noble Gas] ns1-2 (n–1) d1-10

[Noble Gas] (n–2) f1-14

Physical State

Mostly solid at room temperature

Primarily solid

Magnetic Behavior

Paramagnetic or diamagnetic



Mostly stable

Many are radioactive

Occurrence in Nature

Abundant in Earth’s crust

Rare in Earth’s crust

This comparison highlights the contrasting features of these two groups of elements. While d-block elements are abundant and stable, f-block elements are typically rare and often radioactive.

Transition Metal Compounds

D-block elements ability to form complexes and coordination compounds is fundamental to their utility. These compounds are pivotal in catalysis, influencing various industrial processes. They form complex compounds by accepting electron pairs from ligands and forming coordinate bonds with them. For example, the compound Zeise’s salt, a complex formed with platinum, is vital in catalyzing various chemical reactions.

Why Transition Metal Compounds are Colored in Nature?

The colours seen in transition metal compounds arise from the phenomenon known as d-d transitions. When transition metals form compounds, the energy levels of their d-orbitals split. Electrons can move between these energy levels by absorbing or emitting light in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The absorbed light corresponds to the colours we observe in these compounds. Understanding this behaviour is crucial for explaining the vibrant colours of many transition metal complexes.

Applications of d Block Elements

The significance of d-block elements extends far beyond the periodic table. They find applications in various industries, from electronics to catalysis and material science. Let’s delve into some of these applications:

  • Electronics: D-block elements are used to manufacture semiconductors and electronic devices. For instance, tantalum (Ta) is employed in the electronics industry to make capacitors.
  • Catalysis: Many d-block elements, such as iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni), are catalysts in industrial processes. Iron, in the form of iron(III) chloride, is a catalyst for synthesizing chemicals like ethylbenzene.
  • Material Science: D-block elements are integral to the development of advanced materials. Titanium (Ti), known for its high strength and corrosion resistance, is used in aerospace applications and the construction of aircraft components.
  • Environmental Remediation: D-block elements play a role in ecological cleanup processes. For example, palladium (Pd) is used in catalytic converters to reduce harmful emissions in vehicle exhaust.
  • Catalytic Activity: D-block elements are renowned for their catalytic activity, making them indispensable in many industrial processes. For example, platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which are transition metals, serve as catalysts in automobile catalytic converters, helping to reduce harmful emissions. The ability of these elements to change their oxidation states and form stable intermediates is essential in catalysis, allowing for more efficient and environmentally friendly chemical reactions.
  • Alloy Formation: D-block elements are instrumental in alloy formation. Alloys are materials made by mixing a metal with other elements to enhance its properties. For instance, steel, a vital construction material, is an alloy of iron (Fe) and carbon (C), with the addition of other d-block elements like chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni) for improved strength and corrosion resistance. D-block elements contribute to developing diverse alloys used in various applications, from aircraft components to everyday tools.

Also, Check

Sample Questions on d Block Elements

Q1: Which part of the periodic table do d-block elements occupy, and what distinguishes them from other groups?


D-block elements occupy the central part of the periodic table, spanning groups 3 to 12 and periods 4 to 7. They are distinguished by their versatile electron configurations and the ability to exhibit multiple oxidation states, making them crucial in various chemical reactions.

Q2: Name some d-block elements and elucidate their significance in practical applications.


Scandium (Sc) is used in aerospace applications for its lightweight and high strength. Vanadium (V) enhances steel strength and corrosion resistance. Titanium (Ti) is prized for its strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance, used in aerospace, medical implants, and sports equipment. Chromium (Cr) is vital in stainless steel production. Iron (Fe) plays a pivotal role in steel production and transporting oxygen in the bloodstream as part of haemoglobin. Zinc (Zn) is a protective coating for iron and steel. Manganese (Mn) helps improve steel strength and durability. Gold (Au) is used in jewellery and as a store of value. Mercury (Hg) is used in barometers and thermometers.

Q3: How does the electron configuration of d-block elements contribute to their chemical reactivity?


The electron configuration of d-block elements, typically [noble gas] ns1-2 (n–1) d^1-10, leads to the presence of unpaired electrons in the d orbitals. These unpaired electrons allow d-block elements to readily form complex compounds and exhibit various oxidation states, enhancing their reactivity and versatility in chemical reactions.

Q4: What is the importance of d-block elements in catalysis and industrial processes?


D-block elements are crucial in catalysis due to their ability to change oxidation states and form stable intermediates. For example, platinum, palladium, and rhodium are used as catalysts in automobile catalytic converters to reduce harmful emissions, making industrial processes more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Q5: Discuss the concept of variable oxidation states in d-block elements with examples.


D-block elements are known for their capacity to display variable oxidation states. For instance, manganese (Mn) can exhibit oxidation states ranging from +2 to +7, allowing its participation in a wide range of redox reactions. Other examples of d-block elements with variable oxidation states include iron (Fe), vanadium (V), and chromium (Cr).

d Block Elements – FAQs

1. What are d-block Elements?

D-block elements, also called transition metals, are a group of elements that occupy the d-block in the periodic table, known for their versatile electron configurations and roles in chemical reactions.

2. Why are d-Block Elements called “Transition Elements”?

They are named “transition elements” because they bridge the highly reactive s-block and the less reactive p-block elements, facilitating various chemical reactions.

3. What is the role of d-Block Elements in Industrial Processes?

D-block elements are crucial in catalysis and forming coordination compounds, which are vital in numerous industrial processes.

4. What are the Significant Properties of d-Block Elements?

D-block elements are known for their high melting points, excellent electrical conductivity, and the ability to exhibit variable oxidation states.

5. What are the key differences between the 3d, 4d, 5d, and 6d series of d-Block Elements?

The primary difference between these series lies in the period (row) in which they appear on the periodic table and the number of electrons in their d-orbitals. As you move across the rows, you’ll find that the chemical properties of d-block elements change while they remain relatively consistent within a series.

6. How do d-block Elements contribute to Catalysis? Explain with examples.

D-block elements are known for their catalytic properties. For instance, transition metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium are used as catalysts in automobile catalytic converters to help reduce harmful emissions. Their ability to change oxidation states and form stable intermediates plays a vital role in catalysis.

7. What are some everyday items that contain d-Block Elements?

Everyday items that contain d-block elements include stainless steel utensils (which have chromium and nickel), electrical wiring (usually made of copper), and jewellery (which can consist of silver, gold, and platinum).

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