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1) Abstract

The purpose of this project was to identify certain unknown metals by

their density. A question constantly asked throughout the experiment is:
Can an unknown metal be identified by its density? In order to conduct an
experiment to answer the question, the hypothesis: if the density of an
unknown metal was determined, then the metal could be identified, was
created to predict the outcome. This hypothesis was the base for the
experiment, and the experimental results were later utilized in order to
support or reject the hypothesis by comparing the results to the actual
density in the metal and alloys chart. The experiment implemented in class
was to measure the mass and sides by using the caliper for the sides and
the electronic scale to measure the mass of three blocks. Using that
information, the data was plugged into a table which was then transferred
onto a graph that calculated the average density of the three blocks. The
principal result was an average density of 2.7488 and when compared, the
most similar density was 2712. The end results, when fully converted to
the proper units, implied that the metals that were tested were extremely
similar to the metal Aluminum.

2) Research Question & Hypothesis

Research Question: Can an unknown metal be identified by its density?

Hypothesis: If the density of an unknown metal was determined, then the

metal could be identified.

Purpose: This research was for the purpose of discovering an unknown

metal solely based on it's density.

The research conducted was utilized in order to find the answer to the
question: Can an unknown metal be identified by its density? To find the
answer to this question, a hypothesis needed to be stated. The hypothesis
is: If the density of an unknown metal was determined, then the metal
could be identified. A metal could be identified by its density because each
metal should have a different density, but to be sure of the hypothesis,
there needed to be further research and experimenting done in order to
come to a definite conclusion. This research was for the purpose of
discovering an unknown metal solely based on it's density. People cannot
usually determine the type of metal in a certain object or material, which is
why it was a requirement to create an experiment that would test the
hypothesis and have further data to be analyzed. Research that was
searched for was about the proper definition of density and what physical
properties are. Not only were those definitions scrutinized, but also data
trends, qualitative, and quantitative observations were analyzed to prove if
the research and experiment was supportive enough towards enforcing the
stated hypothesis.

According to Tro (2003), density is a fundamental property of substances

that differs from one substance to another (pg.32-34). Density is
expressed in grams per cubic centimeters or g/mL. This takes us back to
the stated question, can an unknown metal be identified by its density? The
definition of density stated earlier has been said to have differentiating
properties which is why the hypothesis stated that a metal could be
identified by its density. The main goal is to be able to read the density of
an unknown metal and compare that data with the actual density of other
metals and alloys to discover what metals were tested when comparing
both densities; this research of density was an absolute necessity because it
strengthened the hypothesis by providing the background information
needed. Density will be referred to often throughout the entire experiment,
and this definition of density will be vocabulary that has to be understood
fully so that this research process a complete success.

Ophardt (2003) states that, Physical properties can be observed or

measured without changing the composition of matter. Physical properties
are used to observe and describe matter. Physical properties include:
appearance, texture, color, odor, melting point, boiling point, density,
solubility, polarity, and many others. Now that the proper definition of
physical properties is clarified, various observations correctly. These
qualitative observations that are made will also come in handy when
comparing the findings with the actual metals. Not only will quantitative
data be taken into consideration when determining the unknown metal in
the experiment because that would not be enough proof to vindicate the
findings when concluding the experiment and observations.

The chart trends that were analyzed during the research step showcased
various metals and alloys along with their individual densities. According
to the chart, the highest density was platinum with a density of
21,400(kg/m3) and the one with the least was sodium with a density of
971(kg/m3), and everything else fell between that range ("The engineering
toolbox," 2012). Their densities were measured in kilograms/meters
cubed as shown below.

4) Data Summary
Figure 1: Quantitative Observations

Qualitative Observations

They all had a metallic sent to them

All of the blocks were of a grayish, metallic, silver color

They felt as hard as rocks, but as smooth as a pebble

When dropped, they made a heavy sound to them except the smallest one.
The smallest one sounded like a pencil was dropped.
They had a cubed shape to them besides the second smallest one. That
one was more of a rectangular shape.

Figure 2: Qualitative Observations of unknown metals

Figure 3: This line graph represents the average density of the unknown
metals by having the volume as the dependent variable on the x-axis and
the mass as the independent variable on the y-axis. The numbers are in
units of g/cm3.

Data Summary
The data trend for Figure 1 was that the larger the mass, the more volume
it would have. This made sense because the more space there is, the more
material it should contain. Block two had botht he highest mass and the
highest volume while block three had the least of both. Figure one also
used a caliper with the scale increment being .1 centimeters and a precision
of 0.5cm.

Figure 2 only had observations of what the unknown metals looked like.
The qualitative observations included a silver color and had quadrilateral
shapes to them.

As for figure 3, the average density for the three metals was a total of
2.7488. This chart in Figure 3 also shows that there is a positive slope.

5) Conclusion
Hypothesis: If the density of an unknown metal was determined, then the
metal could be identified.
Supported or Refuted? The hypothesis was supported because the metal
was discovered as aluminum according to its density.

In conclusion, the data supports the hypothesis: If the density of an

unknown metal was determined, then the metal could be identified. The
findings from this experiment were 2.7488 and when compared with the
chart, the closest metal was aluminum which had a density of 2.712. Also,
this could be classified as a light alloy based on Al because it fell within
that range, but I would conclude that it is pure aluminum because the
experimented data had the same density as aluminum in the researched
metals and alloys chart. Also, the qualitative data supports this conclusion
because those observations are similar to that of aluminum. The two
figures below are the original blocks and an aluminum block on the other
picture, and they both look similar which also supports that the unknown
metals are indeed aluminum. The hypothesis was certainly supported with
the data and research combined.

6) Discussion
A possible improvement, for a human error, would be making sure that all
numbers were correctly written down and analyzed which could have
made the findings more precise than what the current data shows. A
systematic error that was thought to have probably disrupted the results is
the electric scale because it seemed pretty old which would most likely
give false numbers or umbers that were not precise. Further research of
other experiments would have definitely been more insightful as to how
to conduct the experiment in a more knowledgeable manner.

7) Bibliography
Ophardt, C. E. (2003). What are physical properties and changes?.
Retrieved from

Tro, N. J. (2003). Introductory chemistry. (Third ed., pp. 32-34). Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

The engineering toolbox. (2012). Retrieved from











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Neodymium - Nd
Chemical properties of neodimium - Health effects of
neodymium - Environmental effects of neodymium

Atomic number 60

Atomic mass 144.2 g mol -1

Electronegativity according to Pauling 1.14

Density 7.0 g cm-3

Melting point 1024 C

Boiling point 3074 C

Vanderwaals radius 0.181 nm

Isotopes 9

Electronic shell [Xe] 4f16s2

Energy of first ionisation 533 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1040 kJ.mol -1

Energy of third ionisation 2130 kJ.mol -1

Discovered by Carl Auer von Welsbach in 1885


Neodimium is a lustrous silvery-yellow metal. It is very reactive and qickly turnishes in air and the coated formed does
the metal from further oxidation, so it must be stored away from contact with air. It reacts slowly with cold water and r


Neodymium is one of the rare chemicals, that can be found in houses in equipment such as colour televisions, fluoresce
energy-saving lamps and glasses. All rare chemicals have comparable properties. Nedymium is one of the several meta
commonly used in lighter flints. The most important alloys is neodybium, iron and boron (NIB), found to make excellen
magnets. These magnets are part of modern vehicles components, used in computer data storing and in loudspeakers.
is used in coloring glasses (didymium glass) able to adsorb the yellow sodium glare of the flame. This kind of glass is u
the eyes of welders. It is also used to tint glass attractive shades of purple.

Neodymium in the environment

Neodymium is the second most abundant of the rare-earth elements (after cerium) an is almost as abundant as copper
in minerals that include all lanthanide minerals, such as monazite and bastnasite. The main areas are Brazil, China, USA
Lanka and Australia. Reserves of neodybium are estimated to be 8 million tonnes, world production of neodybium oxide
7.000 tonnes a year.

Health effects of neodymium

The amount of neodymium in humans is quite small and, although the metal has no biological role, it can be effects on
body: neodybium dust and salts are very irritating to the eyes. Ingested neodybium salts are regarded as only slightly
are soluble and non toxic if they are insoluble.

Neodymium is mostly dangerous in the working environment, due to the fact that damps and gasses can be inhaled wit
can cause lung embolisms, especially during long-term exposure. Neodymium can be a threat to the liver when it accum
the human body.

Environmental effects of neodymium

Neodymium is dumped in the environment in many different places, mainly by petrol-producing industries. It can also e
environment when household equipment is thrown away. Neodymium will gradually accumulate in soils and water soils
eventually lead to increasing concentrations in humans, animals and soil particles.

With water animals neodymium causes damage to cell membranes, which has several negative influences on reproduct
the functions of the nervous system.

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Zinc - Zn
Chemical properties of zinc - Health effects of zinc - Environmental effects of

Atomic number 30

Atomic mass 65.37 g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to

Density 7.11 at 20C

Melting point 420 C

Boiling point 907 C

Vanderwaals radius 0.138 nm

Ionic radius 0.074 nm (+2)

Isotopes 10

Electronic shell [ Ar ] 3d10 4s2

Energy of first ionisation 904.5 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1723 kJ.mol -1

Standard potential - 0.763 V

Discovered Andreas Marggraf in 1746


Zinc is a lustrous bluish-white metal. It is found in group IIb of the periodic table. It is brittle and crystalline at
ordinary temperatures, but it becomes ductile and malleable when heated between 110C and 150C. It is a fairly
reactive metal that will combine with oxygen and other non-metals, and will react with dilute acids to
release hydrogen.


It is used principally for galvanizing iron, more than 50% of metallic zinc goes into galvanizing steel, but is also
important in the preparation of certain alloys. It is used for the negative plates in some electric batteries and for
roofing and gutters in building construction.
Zinc is the primary metal used in making American pennies, is used in die casting in the automobile industry. Zinc
oxide is used as a white pigment in watercolours or paints, and as an activator in the rubber industry. As a pigment
zinc is used in plastics, cosmetics, photocopier paper, wallpaper, printing inks etc, while in rubber production its role is
to act as a catalyst during manufacture and as a heat disperser in the final product. Zinc metal is included in most
single tablet, it is believed to possess anti-oxidant properties, which protect against premature aging of the skin and
muscles of the body.

Zinc in the environment

Zinc is a very common substance that occurs naturally. Many foodstuffs contain certain concentrations of zinc.
Drinking water also contains certain amounts of zinc, which may be higher when it is stored in metal tanks. Industrial
sources or toxic waste sites may cause the zinc amounts in drinking water to reach levels that can cause health

Zinc occurs naturally in air, water and soil, but zinc concentrations are rising unnaturally, due to addition of zinc
through human activities. Most zinc is added during industrial activities, such as mining, coal and waste combustion
and steel processing. Some soils are heavily contaminated with zinc, and these are to be found in areas where zinc
has to be mined or refined, or were sewage sludge from industrial areas has been used as fertilizer.

Zinc is the 23rd most abundant element in the Earth's crust. The dominant ore is zinc blende, also known as
sphalerite. Other important zinc ores are wurzite, smithsonite and hemimorphite. The main zinc mining areas are
Canada, Russia, Australia, USA and Peru'. World production exceeds 7 million tonnes a year and commercially
exploitable reserves exceed 100 million tonnes. More than 30% of the world's need for zinc is met by recycling.

Health effects of zinc

Zinc is a trace element that is essential for human health. When people absorb too little zinc they can experience a
loss of appetite, decreased sense of taste and smell, slow wound healing and skin sores. Zinc-shortages can even
cause birth defects.

Although humans can handle proportionally large concentrations of zinc, too much zinc can still cause eminent health
problems, such as stomach cramps, skin irritations, vomiting, nausea and anaemia. Very high levels of zinc can
damage the pancreas and disturb the protein metabolism, and cause arteriosclerosis. Extensive exposure to
zinc chloride can cause respiratory disorders.

In the work place environment zinc contagion can lead to a flu-like condition known as metal fever. This condition will
pass after two days and is caused by over sensitivity.

Zinc can be a danger to unborn and newborn children. When their mothers have absorbed large concentrations of zinc
the children may be exposed to it through blood or milk of their mothers.

Effects of zinc on the Environment

The world's zinc production is still rising. This basically means that more and more zinc ends up in the environment.

Water is polluted with zinc, due to the presence of large quantities of zinc in the wastewater of industrial plants. This
wastewater is not purified satisfactory. One of the consequences is that rivers are depositing zinc-polluted sludge on
their banks. Zinc may also increase the acidity of waters.

Some fish can accumulate zinc in their bodies, when they live in zinc-contaminated waterways. When zinc enters the
bodies of these fish it is able to bio magnify up the food chain.

Large quantities of zinc can be found in soils. When the soils of farmland are polluted with zinc, animals will absorb
concentrations that are damaging to their health. Water-soluble zinc that is located in soils can contaminate

Zinc cannot only be a threat to cattle, but also to plant species. Plants often have a zinc uptake that their systems
cannot handle, due to the accumulation of zinc in soils.

On zinc-rich soils only a limited number of plants has a chance of survival. That is why there is not much plant
diversity near zinc-disposing factories. Due to the effects upon plants zinc is a serious threat to the productions of
farmlands. Despite of this zinc-containing manures are still applied.

Finally, zinc can interrupt the activity in soils, as it negatively influences the activity of microrganisms and
earthworms. The breakdown of organic matter may seriously slow down because of this.

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Chromium - Cr
Chemical properties of chromium - Health effects of chromium - Environmental
effects of chromium

Atomic number 24

Atomic mass 51.996 g.mol -1

Electronegativity 1.6

Density 7.19 at 20C

Melting point 1907 C

Boiling point 2672 C

Vanderwaals radius 0.127 nm

Ionic radius 0.061 nm (+3) ; 0.044 nm (+6)

Isotopes 6

Electronic shell [ Ar ] 3d5 4s1

Energy of first ionisation 651.1 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1590.1 kJ.mol -1

Energy of first ionisation 2987 kJ.mol -1

Standard potential - 0.71 V (Cr3+ / Cr )

Discovered by Vaughlin in 1797


Chromium is a lustrous, brittle, hard metal. Its colour is silver-gray and it can be highly polished. It does not tarnish
in air, when heated it borns and forms the green chromic oxide. Chromium is unstable in oxygen, it immediately
produces a thin oxide layer that is impermeable to oxygen and protects the metal below.


Chromium main uses are in alloys such as stainless steel, in chrome plating and in metal ceramics. Chromium plating
was once widely used to give steel a polished silvery mirror coating. Chromium is used in metallurgy to impart
corrosion resistance and a shiny finish; as dyes and paints, its salts colour glass an emerald green and it is used to
produce synthetic rubies; as a catalyst in dyeing and in the tanning of leather; to make molds for the firing of bricks.
Chromium (IV) oxide (CrO2) is used to manufacture magnetic tape.

Chromium in the environment

Chromium is mined as chromite (FeCr2O4) ore. Chromium ores are mined today in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Finland,
India, Kazakihstan and the Philippines. A total of 14 million tonnes of chromite ore is extracted. Reserves are
hestimated to be of the order of 1 billion tonnes with unexploited deposits in Greenland, Canada e USA.

Health effects of chromium

People can be exposed to chromium through breathing, eating or drinking and through skin contact with chromium or c

Chromium(III) is an essential nutrient for humans and shortages may cause heart conditions, disruptions of metabolism

Chromium(VI) is a danger to human health, mainly for people who work in the steel and textile industry. People who sm

Chromium(VI) is known to cause various health effects. When it is a compound in leather products, it can cause allergic
Other health problems that are caused by chromium(VI) are:

- Skin rashes
- Upset stomachs and ulcers
- Respiratory problems
- Weakened immune systems
- Kidney and liver damage
- Alteration of genetic material
- Lung cancer
- Death

The health hazards associated with exposure to chromium are dependent on its oxidation state. The metal form (chrom

Carcinogenicity- Chromium and most trivalent chromium compounds have been listed by the National Toxicology Progra
classified chromium metal and trivalent chromium compounds as A4,not classifiable as a human carcinogen.

Environmental effects of chromium

There are several different kinds of chromium that differ in their effects upon organisms. Chromium enters the air,
water and soil in the chromium(III) and chromium(VI) form through natural processes and human activities.

The main human activities that increase the concentrations of chromium (III) are steal, leather and textile
manufacturing. The main human activities that increase chromium(VI) concentrations are chemical, leather and
textile manufacturing, electro painting and other chromium(VI) applications in the industry. These applications will
mainly increase concentrations of chromium in water. Through coal combustion chromium will also end up in air and
through waste disposal chromium will end up in soils.

Most of the chromium in air will eventually settle and end up in waters or soils. Chromium in soils strongly attaches
to soil particles and as a result it will not move towards groundwater. In water chromium will absorb on sediment
and become immobile. Only a small part of the chromium that ends up in water will eventually dissolve.
Chromium(III) is an essential element for organisms that can disrupt the sugar metabolism and cause heart
conditions, when the daily dose is too low. Chromium(VI) is mainly toxic to organisms. It can alter genetic materials
and cause cancer.

Crops contain systems that arrange the chromium-uptake to be low enough not to cause any harm. But when the
amount of chromium in the soil rises, this can still lead to higher concentrations in crops. Acidification of soil can
also influence chromium uptake by crops. Plants usually absorb only chromium(III). This may be the essential kind
of chromium, but when concentrations exceed a certain value, negative effects can still occur.

Chromium is not known to accumulate in the bodies of fish, but high concentrations of chromium, due to the
disposal of metal products in surface waters, can damage the gills of fish that swim near the point of disposal.
In animals chromium can cause respiratory problems, a lower ability to fight disease, birth defects, infertility and
tumor formation.

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Promethium - Pm
Chemical properties of promethium - Health effects of promethium - Environmental effects
of promethium
Atomic number 61

Atomic mass (147) g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to Pauling unknown

Density 6.475 at 20C

Melting point 1168 C

Boiling point 2460 C

Vanderwaals radius unknown

Ionic radius unknown

Isotopes 9

Electronic shell [ Xe ] 4f5 6s2

Energy of first ionisation 534.6 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1050 kJ.mol -1

Standard potential - 2.42 V

Discovered by Marinsky 1945


Promethium is a rare-earth metal that emits beta radius. It is very radoiactive and rare, so it is little studied:
its chemical and physical properties are not well defined. Promethium salts have a pink or red colour that
coluors the surroundings air with a pale blue-green light.


Most promethium is used for research purpose. It can be used as beta radiation source in luminous paint, in
nuclear batteries for guided missiles, watches, pacemakers and rados, and as a light source for signals. It is
possible that in future it will be used as portable X-ray source.

Promethium in the environment

Promethium dose occurs in the Earth's crust in tiny amounts in some uranium ores. It is not stable so it
undergoes radioactive decay. All the promethium which might once have existed on Earth when it formed would
have vanished within 10000 years.

Health effects of promethium

Promethium has no role to play on living things and is slightly dangerous because of its intense radioactivity.
Test on animals showed that it become localized on the surface of bones from which it can be only slowly

Environmental effects of promethium

Promethium is practically non-existent in nature, so it poses no threat to the environment. It has to be haldled
carefully because of its high radioactivity.

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Indium - In
Chemical properties of indium - Health effects of indium - Environmental
effects of indium

Atomic number 49

Atomic mass 114.82 g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to Pauling 2

Density 7.31 at 20C

Melting point 156 C

Boiling point 2000 C

Vanderwaals radius 0.162 nm

Ionic radius 0.092 nm (+2)

Isotopes 11

Electronic shell [ Kr ] 4d10 5s25p1

Energy of first ionisation 558.2 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1820.2 kJ.mol -1

Energy of third ionisation 2704 kJ.mol -1

Standard potential - 0.34 V ( In3+/ In )

Discovered by Ferdinand Reich 1863


Indium is a soft, ductile, manleable, lustrous metallic metal. Its colour is silvery white and it has a
face-centered tetragonal structure. It is liquid over a wide range of temperatures, like gallium that
belongs to its same group. Both indium and gallium are able to wet glass. Indium is stable in air and
in water but dissolves in acids. When heated above its melting point it ignites burning with a violet


Indium is used in low-melting fusible alloys and as a protective plate for bearings and other metal
surfaces. It can be used to form corrosion-resistant mirror surface: when evaporated and allowed to
deposit on glass it produces a mirror as good a quality as that of silver. Indium foils are used to assess
what is going on inside nuclear reactors. Finally, it is used as light filter in low pressure sodium vapor

Indium in the environment

Indium is not widely dispersed in the environment. Cultivated soils are reported to be richer in indium
than non cultivated sites; some even have levels as high as 4 ppm. Indium produced in idustry comes
as the by-product of smelting zinc and lead sulfide ores, some of which can contain 1% indium.
Specimens of uncombined indium metal have been found in a region of Russia and an indium mineral,
indite, has been found in Siberia, but it is rare. World production comes mainly from Canada and is
around 75 tonnes per year, reserves of the metal are estimated to exceed 1500 tonnes.

Health effects of indium

Indium has no biological role. In small doses it is said to stimulate the metabolism.

Indium compounds are encountered rarely by most people. All indium compounds should be regarded
as highly toxic. Indium compounds damage the heart, kidney, and liver, and may be teratogenic.

Insufficient data are available on the effect of this substance on human health, therefore utmost care
must be taken.

Environmental effects of indium

Since indium is not widely dispersed in the environment, it poses no threat to land or marine life.
Environmental effects from the substance have not been investigated.

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Tin - Sn
Chemical properties of tin - Health effects of tin - Environmental effects of tin

Atomic number 50

Atomic mass 118.69 g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to Pauling 1.8

Density (alpha) and 7.3 at 20C (beta)

Melting point 232 C

Boiling point 2270 C

Vanderwaals radius 0.162 nm

Ionic radius 0.112 nm (+2) ; 0.070 nm (+4)

Isotopes 20

Electronic shell [ Kr ] 4d10 5s25p2

Energy of first ionisation 708.4 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1411.4 kJ.mol -1

Energy of third ionisation 2942.2 kJ.mol -1

Energy of fourth ionisation 3929.3 kJ.mol -1

Discovered by The ancients


Tin is a soft, pliable, silvery-white metal. Tin is not easily oxidized and resists corrosion because it is protected by an
oxide film. Tin resists corrosion from distilled sea and soft tap water, and can be attacked by strong acids, alkalis and
acid salts.


Tin is used in for can coating: tin-plated steel containers are widely used for food preservation. Tin alloys are
employed in many ways: as solder for joining pipes or electric circuits, pewter, bell metal, babbit metal and dental
amalgams. The niobium-tin alloy is used for superconductiong magnets, tin oxide is used for ceramics and in gas
sensors (as it absorbs a gas its electrical conmductivity increases and this can be monitored). Tin foil was once a
common wrapping material for foods and drugs, now replaced by the use of aluminium foil.

Tin in the environment

Tin oxide is insoluble and the ore strongly resists weathering, so the amount of tin in soils and natural waters is low.
The concentration in soils is generally between the range 1-4 ppm but some soils have less that 0.1 ppm while peats
can have as much 300 ppm.
There are few tin-containing minerals, but only one is of commercial significance and that is cassiterite. The main
mining area to be found in the tin belt which goes from China through Thailand, Brima and Malaysia to the islands of
Indonesia. Malaysia produces 40% of the world's tin. Other important tin mining area are Bolivia and Brazil. Global
production is in excess of 140.000 tonnes per year and workable reserves amount to more 4 million tonnes. Tin
concetrates are produces in around 130.000 tonnes per year.

Health effects of tin

Tin is mainly applied in various organic substances. The organic tin bonds are the most dangerous forms of tin for
humans. Despite the dangers they are applied in a great number of industries, such as the paint industry and the
plastic industry, and in agriculture through pesticides. The number of applications of organic tin substances is still
increasing, despite the fact that we know the consequences of tin poisoning.
The effects of organic tin substances can vary. They depend upon the kind of substance that is present and the
organism that is exposed to it. Triethyltin is the most dangerous organic tin substance for humans. It has relatively
short hydrogen bonds. When hydrogen bonds grow longer a tin substance will be less dangerous to human health.
Humans can absorb tin bonds through food and breathing and through the skin.
The uptake of tin bonds can cause acute effects as well as long-term effects.

Acute effects are:

- Eye and skin irritations
- Headaches
- Stomachaches
- Sickness and dizziness
- Severe sweating
- Breathlessness
- Urination problems

Long-term effects are:

- Depressions
- Liver damage
- Malfunctioning of immune systems
- Chromosomal damage
- Shortage of red blood cells
- Brain damage (causing anger, sleeping disorders, forgetfulness and headaches)

Effects of tin on the environment

Tins as single atoms or molecules are not very toxic to any kind of organism, the toxic form is the organic form.
Organic tin components can maintain in the environment for long periods of time. They are very persistent and not
fairly biodegradable. Microrganisms have a great deal of trouble breaking down organic tin compounds that have
accumulated on water soils for many years. The concentrations of organic tins still rise due to this.

Organic tins can spread through the water systems when adsorbed on sludge particles. They are known to cause a
great deal of harm to aquatic ecosystems, as they are very toxic to fungi, algae and phytoplankton. Phytoplankton is
a very important link in the aquatic ecosystem, as it provides other water organisms withoxygen. It is also an
important part of the aquatic food chain.

There are many different types of organic tin that can vary greatly in toxicity. Tributyltins are the most toxic tin
components to fish and fungi, whereas trifenyltin is much more toxic to phytoplankton.
Organic tins are known to disturb growth, reproduction, enzymatic systems and feeding patterns of aquatic
organisms. The exposure mainly takes place in the top layer of the water, as that is where organic tin compounds

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Manganese - Mn
Chemical properties of manganese - Health effects of
manganese - Environmental effects of manganese

Atomic number 25

Atomic mass 54.9380 g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to Pauling 1.5

Density 7.43 at 20C

Melting point 1247 C

Boiling point 2061 C

Vanderwaals radius 0.126 nm

Ionic radius 0.08 nm (+2) ; 0.046 nm (+7)

Isotopes 7

Electronic shell [ Ar ] 3d5 4s2

Energy of first ionisation 716 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1489 kJ.mol -1

Standard potential - 1.05 V ( Mn2+/ Mn )

Discovered Johann Gahn in 1774


Manganese is a pinkinsh-gray, chemically active element. It is a hard metal and is very brittle. It is hard to melt, but
easily oxidized. Manganese is reactive when pure, and as a powder it will burn in oxygen, it reacts with water (it rusts
like iron) and dissolves in dilute acids.


Manganese is essential to iron and steel production. At present steel making accounts 85% to 90% of the total
demand, most of the total demand. Manganese is a key component of low-cost stainless steel formulations and
certain widely used alumimum alloys. Manganese dioxide is also used as a catalyst. Manganese is used to decolorize
glass and make violet coloured glass. Potassium permanganate is a potent oxidizer and used as a disinfectant. Other
compound that find application are Manganese oxide (MnO) and manganese carbonate (MnCO 3): the first goes into
fertilizers and ceramics, the second is the starting material for making other manganese compounds.

Manganese in the environment

Manganese is one of the most abundant metals in soils, where it occurs as oxides and hydroxides, and it cycles
through its various oxidation states. Manganese occurs principally as pyrolusite (MnO 2), and to a lesser extent as
rhodochrosite (MnCO3). More than 25 million tonnes are mined every year, representing 5 million tons of the metal,
and reserves are estimated to exeed 3 billion tonnes of the metal. The main mining areas for manganese ores are
South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Gabon and Australia.
Manganese is an essential element for all species. Some organisms, such as diatoms, molluscs and sponges,
accumulate manganese. Fish can have up to 5 ppm and mammals up to 3 ppm in their tissue, although normally they
have around 1 ppm.

Health effects of manganese

Manganese is a very common compound that can be found everywhere on earth. Manganese is one out of three toxic
essential trace elements, which means that it is not only necessary for humans to survive, but it is also toxic when too
high concentrations are present in a human body. When people do not live up to the recommended daily allowances
their health will decrease. But when the uptake is too high health problems will also occur.

The uptake of manganese by humans mainly takes place through food, such as spinach, tea and herbs. The foodstuffs
that contain the highest concentrations are grains and rice, soya beans, eggs, nuts, olive oil, green beans and
oysters. After absorption in the human body manganese will be transported through the blood to the liver, the
kidneys, the pancreas and the endocrine glands.

Manganese effects occur mainly in the respiratory tract and in the brains. Symptoms of manganese poisoning are
hallucinations, forgetfulness and nerve damage. Manganese can also cause Parkinson, lung embolism and bronchitis.
When men are exposed to manganese for a longer period of time they may become impotent.
A syndrome that is caused by manganese has symptoms such as schizophrenia, dullness, weak muscles, headaches
and insomnia.

Because manganese is an essential element for human health shortages of manganese can also cause health effects.
These are the following effects:

- Fatness
- Glucose intolerance
- Blood clotting
- Skin problems
- Lowered cholesterol levels
- Skeleton disorders
- Birth defects
- Changes of hair colour
- Neurological symptoms

Chronic Manganese poisoning may result from prolonged inhalation of dust and fume. The central nervous system is
the chief site of damage from the disease, which may result in permanent disability. Symptoms include languor,
sleepiness, weakness, emotional disturbances, spastic gait, recurring leg cramps, and paralysis. A high incidence of
pneumonia and other upper respiratory infections has been found in workers exposed to dust or fume of Manganese
compounds. Manganese compounds are experimental equivocal tumorigenic agents.

Environmental effects of manganese

Manganese compounds exist naturally in the environment as solids in the soils and small particles in the water.
Manganese particles in air are present in dust particles. These usually settle to earth within a few days.
Humans enhance manganese concentrations in the air by industrial activities and through burning fossil fuels.
Manganese that derives from human sources can also enter surface water, groundwater and sewage water. Through
the application of manganese pesticides, manganese will enter soils.

For animals manganese is an essential component of over thirty-six enzymes that are used for the carbohydrate,
protein and fat metabolism. With animals that eat too little manganese interference of normal growth, bone
formation and reproduction will occur.

For some animals the lethal dose is quite low, which means they have little chance to survive even smaller doses of
manganese when these exceed the essential dose. Manganese substances can cause lung, liver and vascular
disturbances, declines in blood pressure, failure in development of animal foetuses and brain damage.

When manganese uptake takes place through the skin it can cause tremors and coordination failures. Finally,
laboratory tests with test animals have shown that severe manganese poisoning should even be able to cause tumor
development with animals.

In plants manganese ions are transported to the leaves after uptake from soils. When too little manganese can be
absorbed from the soil this causes disturbances in plant mechanisms. For instance disturbance of the division
of water to hydrogen and oxygen, in which manganese plays an important part.

Manganese can cause both toxicity and deficiency symptoms in plants. When the pH of the soil is low manganese
deficiencies are more common.

Highly toxic concentrations of manganese in soils can cause swelling of cell walls, withering of leafs and brown spots
on leaves. Deficiencies can also cause these effects. Between toxic concentrations and concentrations that cause
deficiencies a small area of concentrations for optimal plant growth can be detected.

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Samarium - Sm
Chemical properties of samarium - Health effects of samarium - Environmental effects of

Atomic number 62

Atomic mass 150.35 g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to Pauling 1.2

Density 6.9 at 20C

Melting point 1072 C

Boiling point 1790 C

Vanderwaals radius Unknown

Ionic radius Unknown

Isotopes 11

Electronic shell [ Xe ] 4f6 6s2

Energy of first ionisation 542.3 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1066 kJ.mol -1

Standard potential - 2.41 V

Paul Emile Lecoq de

Discovered by
Boisbaudran in 1879

Samarium is a silvery-white metal belonging to the lanthanide group of the periodic table. It is relatively stable at
room temperature in dry air, but it ignites when heated above 150 C and forms an oxide coating in moist air.
Like europium samarium has a relatively stable oxidation state (II).


Samarium is used as a catalyst in certain organic reactions: the samarium iodide (SmI2) is used by organic research
chemists to make synthetic versions of natural products. The oxide, samaria, is used for making special infrared
adsorbing glass and cores of carbon arc-lamp electrodes and as a catalyst for the dehydration and dehydrogenation of
ethanol. Its compound with cobalt (SmCo5) is used in making a new permanent magnet material.

Samarium in the environment

Samarium is the fifth most abundant of the rare elements and is almost four times as common as tin. It is never
found free in nature, but in contained in many minerals, including monazite, bastnasite and samarskite. Samarium
containing ores are found in USA, China, Brazil, India, Australia and Sri Lanka. World production of samarium oxide is
about 700 tonnes per year and world-wide reserves are estimated to be around 2 million tonnes.

Health effects of samarium

Samarium has no biological role, but it has been noted to stimulate metabolism. Soluble samarium salts are mildly
toxic by ingestion and there are health hazards associated with these because exposure to samarium causes skin and
eye irritation.

Effects of samarium on the environment

Samarium does not poses any threat to plants or animals.

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Iron - Fe
Chemical properties of iron - Health effects of iron - Environmental effects of

Atomic number 26

Atomic mass 55.85 g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to

Density 7.8 at 20C

Melting point 1536 C

Boiling point 2861 C

Vanderwaalsradius 0.126 nm

Ionic radius 0.076 nm (+2) ; 0.064 nm (+3)

Isotopes 8

Electronic shell [ Ar ] 3d6 4s2

Energy of first ionisation 761 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1556.5 kJ.mol -1

Energy of third ionisation 2951 kJ.mol -1

- o.44 V (Fe2+/ Fe ) ; 0.77 V ( Fe3+/

Standard potential
Fe2+ )
Discovered by The ancients

Iron is a lustrous, ductile, malleable, silver-gray metal (group VIII of the periodic table). It is known to exist in four
distinct crystalline forms. Iron rusts in damp air, but not in dry air. It dissolves readily in dilute acids. Iron is
chemically active and forms two major series of chemical compounds, the bivalent iron (II), or ferrous, compounds
and the trivalent iron (III), or ferric, compounds.


Iron is the most used of all the metals, including 95 % of all the metal tonnage produced worldwide. Thanks to the
combination of low cost and high strength it is indispensable. Its applications go from food containers to family cars,
from scredrivers to washing machines, from cargo ships to paper staples.
Steel is the best known alloy of iron, and some of the forms that iron takes include: pig iron, cast iron, carbon steel,
wrought iron, alloy steels, iron oxides.

Iron in the environment

Iron is believed to be the tenth most abundant element in the universe. Iron is also the most abundant (by mass,
34.6%) element making up the Earth; the concentration of iron in the various layers of the Earth ranges from high at
the inner core to about 5% in the outer crust. Most of this iron is found in various iron oxides, such as the minerals
hematite, magnetite, and taconite. The earth's core is believed to consist largely of a metallic iron-nickel alloy.
Iron is essential to almost living things, from micro-organisms to humans.
World production of new iron is over 500 million tonnes a year, and recycled iron add other 300 million tonnes.
Economically workable reserves of iron ores exceed 100 billion tonnes. The main mining areas are China, Brazil,
Australia, Russia and Ukraine, with sizeable amounts mined in the USA, Canada, Venezuela, Sweeden and India.

Health effects of iron

Iron can be found in meat, whole meal products, potatoes and vegetables. The human body absorbs iron in animal
products faster than iron in plant products. Iron is an essential part of hemoglobin; the red colouring agent of the
blood that transports oxygen through our bodies.

Iron may cause conjunctivitis, choroiditis, and retinitis if it contacts and remains in the tissues. Chronic inhalation of
excessive concentrations of iron oxide fumes or dusts may result in development of a benign pneumoconiosis, called
siderosis, which is observable as an x-ray change. No physical impairment of lung function has been associated with
siderosis. Inhalation of excessive concentrations of iron oxide may enhance the risk of lung cancer development in
workers exposed to pulmonary carcinogens. LD50 (oral, rat) =30 gm/kg. (LD50: Lethal dose 50. Single dose of a
substance that causes the death of 50% of an animal population from exposure to the substance by any route other
than inhalation. Usually expressed as milligrams or grams of material per kilogram of animal weight (mg/kg or g/kg).)

A more common problem for humans is iron deficency, which leads to anaemia. A man needs an average daily intake
pf 7 mg of iron and a woman 11 mg; a normal diet will generally provided all that is needed.

Environmental effects of iron

Iron (III)-O-arsenite, pentahydrate may be hazardous to the environment; special attention should be given to plants,
air and water. It is strongly advised not to let the chemical enter into the environment because it persists in the

Read more on iron in water

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Gadolinium - Gd
Chemical properties of gadolinium - Health effects of
gadolinium - Environmental effects of gadolinium

Atomic number 64

Atomic mass 157.25 g.mol -1

Electronegativity according to Pauling 1.1

Density 7.9 at 20C

Melting point 1313 C

Boiling point 3266 C

Vanderwaals radius unknown

Ionic radius unknown

Isotopes 13

Electronic shell [ Xe ] 4f7 5d1 6s2

Energy of first ionisation 591.4 kJ.mol -1

Energy of second ionisation 1165.5 kJ.mol -1

Standard potential - 2.40 V

Discovered by Jean de Marignac in 1880


Gadolinium is a soft, shiny, ductile, silvery metal belonging to the lanthanide group of the periodic chart. The metal
does not tarnish in dry air but an oxide film forms in moist air. Gadolinium reacts slowly with water and dissolves in
acids. Gadolinium becomes superconductive below 1083 K. It is strongly magnetic at room temperature.


Gadolinium has found some use in control rods for nuclear reactors and nuclear power plants; it is used to make
garnets for microwave applications and its compounds are used for making phosphorous for colour TV tubes. Metallic
gadolinium is rarely used as the metal itself, but its alloys are used to make magnets and electronic components such
as recording heads for video recorders. It is also used for manufacturing compact disks and computer memory.

Gadolinium in the environment

Gadolinium is one of the more abundant rare-earth elements. It is never found as free element in nature, but it is
contained in many rare minerals. The main mining areas are Cina, USA, Brazil, Sri Lanka, India and Australia with
reserves expected to exceed one million tonnes. World production of pure gadolinium is about 400 tonnes per year.

Health effects of gadolinium

Gadolinium, as the other lanthanides, forms compounds of low to moderate toxicity. Gadolinium salts irritate skin and e

Environmental effects of gadolinium

Gadolilium poses no environmental threat to plants and animals.

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