Among the elements in the periodic table, there are also some that belong to the f block. These elements are characterized by their chemical properties, their occurrence, and their electronic configuration Located at the bottom of the periodic table are the f block elements. These elements are hard and reactive metals. They form complex compounds and exhibit variable oxidation states. They are spread evenly throughout the Earth .These elements are also called transition elements. Their properties are similar to those of d-block elements. They are typically metals with a low atomic charge, and they are known to be radioactive. Their oxidation states can vary between +2 and +3 depending on the element. They have high electropositive energy. They have a silvery-white appearance when melted. F block elements are placed in two series. The first series is called the lanthanide series, while the second series is called the actinide series. Both series are part of the 7th period of the periodic table (Aspinall, 2018).
f block elements are one of the three groups of chemical elements with electrons in f orbitals. Inner transition elements is another name for them. 14 different components may be found in the f-block pattern. The lanthanides are the first series of f block elements. The lanthanum atom has a ground state electronic configuration of 4f0. Metals with elevated molten and boils temperatures, the lanthanides are colorless and gleaming. In both thermal as well as electrical contexts, lanthanides shine. Lanthanides are also very reactive and have prominent oxidation states of +3. The fifth series of f block elements are actinides. They include the elements from thorium to lawrencium. Actinides are characterized by their high boiling points, high oxidation states, and high reaction rates (Fang & Dehaen, 2021).
2. Properties of f block elements
• Generally, (Scerri, 2020) there are two types of elements in the f block. One is the lanthanides, and the other is the actinides. The lanthanides are heavy metals that show a high oxidation state and a tendency to form complex compounds. They are also reactive and have high boiling and melting points. The actinides are more basic. They have a prominent oxidation state of +3.
• The f-block is an inner transition element category that contains lanthanides and actinides. These metals have been placed between the d-block and the s-block of the periodic table. They are distinct in that they have unique structures, electron configurations, and oxidation states.
• Actinoids, on the other hand, have a more complex magnetic and chemical structure. The lanthanides have a high redox potential, and are comparable to the alkaline earth metals. As a group, they have quite a high synchronization value. Extremely reactive, they combine rapidly with hydrogen.
2.1. Electronic configuration
The electronic configuration of “f” block elements is characterized by four electrons in the f-orbital and three electrons in the d-orbital. Their oxidation state is similar to that of d-block elements. F block elements also exhibit significant relativistic contributions. Lanthanoids have a silvery appearance, and have a 6s2 common configuration.
2.2. Melting and boiling point
Having a high melting and boiling point is an indication that the metallic bonds are strong and there are strong forces of attraction between the elements. Some elements have higher properties than others and their melting and boiling points vary from one element to another.
2.3. Oxidation state
The oxidation state of f block elements is usually +3. They are also very reactive and can have many different oxidation states.
3. Applications of f block elements
• They are used as strong reducing agents. They also react with acid to release hydrogen ions. These elements are also used as abrasives in glass cleaning.
• Lanthanoids are silvery-white substances. They are good conductors of heat, electricity, and magnetism. They are usually used to make heat-resistant materials, like steel. These elements also have high tensile strength. Lanthanides are also used to make strong magnets. Lanthanides are less toxic than actinides, but they also tarnish easily.
• Actinides are very reactive and have a range of oxidation states. They are also radioactive. These elements have been used for cancer treatment and nuclear power plants. These elements also have the potential to be used as weapons. They are used for making instrument steels, refractories and heat resistant materials (Fang, 2021)
• f-block features are not as well as those in other blocks. But they are important in various fields of science. They are used for catalysis, magnetic devices, and a variety of other purposes. In addition, they see service in the construction sector. They play a crucial part in the development of current-day jet engines. Moreover, they are used to make steel and other alloying metals.
It is commonly recognized that the metals in the f block are the most reactive of all the elements; their melting and boiling temperatures are also among the highest. The oxidation state of f block elements is usually +3. However, f block elements can also exist in other oxidation states. These elements can be extracted by electrolysis of molten chlorides. They’re also a key ingredient in making flints for lighters.
1. Aspinall, H. C. (2018). Chemistry of the f-Block Elements. Routledge.
2. Scerri, E. (2020). Recent attempts to change the periodic table. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 378(2180), 20190300.
3. Fang, Y., & Dehaen, W. (2021). Small-molecule-based fluorescent probes for f-block metal ions: A new frontier in chemosensors. Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 427, 213524.