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Question Video: Identifying a Transition Metal Given a Description of Its Common Uses Chemistry

Which of the following period 4 metals is commonly used in alloys with iron as a decorative plating on car headlamps and has compounds that are used in the tanning of leather? [A] Scandium [B] Cobalt [C] Copper [D] Zinc [E] Chromium

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Video Transcript

Which of the following period four metals is commonly used in alloys with iron as a decorative plating on car headlamps and has compounds that are used in the tanning of leather? (A) Scandium, (B) cobalt, (C) copper, (D) zinc, (E) chromium.

In this question, we want to identify which metal found in period four on the periodic table is part of an alloy with iron used in decorative plating and is part of a compound used to tan leather. Firstly, an alloy is a metallic solid solution that contains at least two different types of elements. Let’s consider the applications of the alloys and compounds containing the elements in the answer choices one at a time.

To begin, the most common alloy of scandium is made with aluminum and is used to make aircraft. A common use of scandium compounds is in mercury vapor lamps to make the light look more natural. These are only some of the uses of scandium alloys and compounds. But we know that scandium is very rare and is not involved in tanning leather or decorative plating, so we can eliminate it from the list.

Cobalt alloys are used in computers, MRI machines, and in some types of car batteries. Cobalt compounds are often used as coloring agents for glass or enamel. These common uses of cobalt alloys and compounds do not match those listed in the question, so we can eliminate cobalt from our list.

The next element we will discuss is copper. One of the most important alloys of copper is bronze, which contains copper and tin. Copper compounds have a variety of important uses, including insecticides and fungicides, but none are used to tan leather. Therefore, we can also eliminate copper from our list.

The element zinc can form a well-known alloy with copper known as brass, which is very malleable and used to make instruments and decorative ornaments. Common uses of zinc compounds include sunscreens and illuminating paints. However, these compounds are not used to tan leather, so we can also eliminate zinc from our list.

Finally, we can discuss chromium. Chromium forms an alloy with iron called ferrochrome, which is corrosion resistant and is used for the decorative plating of car headlamps. In addition, chromium salts are used in the tanning of leather. Chromium helps to form cross-links between collagen fibers in the animal hide.

In conclusion, the period four metal that is commonly alloyed with iron for decorative plating of car headlamps and has compounds involved in tanning leather is chromium, or answer choice (E).

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