C3 Decomposition Of Transition Metal Carbonates Coursework


Eye protection

Each group will require:

Test-tubes, 2 (per carbonate)

Delivery tube (right-angled)


Bunsen burner

Clamp and stand

Limewater (calcium hydroxide solution), 10 cm3 per carbonate

About 2 g each of following solids:

Copper carbonate (HARMFUL)


Potassium carbonate (IRRITANT)

Sodium carbonate, anhydrous (IRRITANT)

Zinc carbonate

Refer to Health & Safety and Technical notes section below for additional information.

Page last updated October 2015

The elements in the middle section of the Periodic Table are the transition elements. They're all metals with typical metallic properties eg conducting heat and electricity. They often form coloured compounds.

Transition metal carbonates undergo thermal decomposition - a reaction in which a substance is broken down into at least two other substances by heat.

Transition metal hydroxides are insoluble in water. They can be precipitated out of a transitional metal compound solution using sodium hydroxide solution.

Transition elements

The transition metals

The transition elements are those in the middle section of the Periodic Table.

All the transition elements are metals and so they have typical metallic properties - they conduct heat and electricity, they are malleable and ductile and they form positive ions when they react with non-metals.

The compounds of transition metals are often coloured.

  • Copper compounds are blue
  • Iron(II) compounds are light green
  • Iron(III) compounds are orange/brown
  • Iron is a catalyst in the Haber process
  • Nickel is a catalyst used in the manufacture of margarine

Back to The periodic table index

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