What Are The Five Groups Of Metals? (Periodic Table Edition)

By Ali Godden

Before we delve into the five different groups of metals, you ought to know that almost all of the elements in the periodic table are metals – 91 out of 118 to be exact. These metals can be further classified as alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals, and basic metals. In today’s blog, we’re going to be exploring the details of these fives groups so you have a better understanding when you’re recycling metal in Melbourne.

The properties of metals

Elements in the periodic table are generally classified as non-metals or metals although some elements have characteristics of both – these are called metalloids, but we’ll talk more about those later.

The properties of a metal include:

  • Lustre – How shiny they are.
  • Malleability – How much they can be bent or shaped without breaking.
  • Conductivity – How well they conducts electricity. 
  • Boiling or melting point – The temperature in which metals melt or boil (all metals aside from mercury are solid at room temperature).
  • Sonorous – Sonorous metals will make a metallic sounds when hit.
  • Reactivity – How reactive metals are with each other.  Most are very reactive although some such as gold and platinum do not react. The reactivity series is a chart that lists metals’ reactivity in descending order.
  • Ductility – How easily they can be shaped into a thin sheet without breaking.
  • Hardness – Their resistance to scratches or abrasions. 
  • Strength – The strength of metals can be measured in 4 different ways:
    • Yield strength – The resistance of permanent deformation;
    • Tensile strength – How much it can be stretched without breaking;
    • Compressive strength – The resistance to compression (being squashed); and
    • Impact strength – The resistance to suddenly applied loads.

Noble metals

These metals are pure, nonreactive, and can’t form compounds. Their non-reactivity makes them perfect for jewellery and coins. Some examples of noble metals include palladium, copper, silver, rhodium, and osmium.

Alkali metals

Alkali metals are very reactive and have low melting points. The alkali metals are named as they are because when they react with water they form alkalies. Alkali metals are soft enough to be cut with a knife. Some examples are potassium, lithium and sodium.

Alkaline earth metals

Found in compounds with many different minerals, alkaline earth metals are harder, have higher melting points and are less reactive than alkali metals (but are still quite reactive). Due to their reactivity – they seldom appear in their pure form. This group includes calcium, magnesium, and barium.

Transition metals

Transition metals are generally the types that we frequently think of when we think of the word metal. Some examples include gold, silver and iron – some of which you may notice are also noble metals. They are hard, shiny, strong and easy to shape. These types of metals are used for several industrial purposes.

Other metals

Other metals (sometimes known as poor metals or post-transitional metals) are generally fairly soft with low boiling points. They are located between the metalloids and transition metals on the periodic table and have various uses. Aluminium is used when soldering, for example as well as to craft utensils whilst lead is used in batteries. Other examples include gallium and bismuth.


As we mentioned earlier, metalloids are elements that hold the properties of both metals and non-metals. For example, silicon is lustrous like a metal – but also quite brittle like a non-metal. There are seven metalloids found in the periodic table and can be found on the border between the metals and non-metals.

Metal Fun Fact

Alkali metals, such as lithium, sodium, potassium, and rubidium are so reactive that they will ignite and even explode if placed in water.

Thinking of recycling metal in Melbourne?

Whilst we all love a good element metal – most of us have a different kind of metal for recycling. Metal Men Recycling specialises in buying your scrap metal in Melbourne – no matter what form it may be! Recycling metal is a fantastic way to make some spare cash on the side as well as mitigate the negative impact on the environment

Is your business looking to offload a large amount of scrap metal? We can provide several bin sizes for free and drop-off/pick-up services so your day-to-day happenings are minimally affected. So, when you’re thinking of recycling your scrap metal in Melbourne – come down to Metal Men Recycling. 

If you’d like to know more about our services, then please don’t hesitate to contact us via our website or give us a call on 03 5941 6677.

Artboard 7
Find us at: 18 Drovers Place, Pakenham VIC 3810