Question Video: Identifying the Correct Classification for a Composite Material Chemistry

A metal’s properties can be changed by mixing that metal with another element. Which of the following is the name given to the resulting mixture? [A] A gel [B] An alloy [C] An emulsion [D] A suspension [E] A metalloid

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Video Transcript

A metal’s properties can be changed by mixing that metal with another element. Which of the following is the name given to the resulting mixture? (A) A gel, (B) an alloy, (C) an emulsion, (D) a suspension, or (E) a metalloid.

The atoms of any one metal element can be combined with the atoms of a different element to make a new composite material. The new composite material usually has an altogether different set of physical properties. We call this new composite material an alloy. An alloy can be made by combining one metal element with one or more other elements. Alloys tend to have unusual physical properties because they have such an irregular arrangement of atoms and ions. So it seems as though the answer to the question is (B) an alloy. But to confirm, let’s look at the other options.

Option (A) is a gel. A gel is a colloidal or polymer network spanning a liquid medium forming a semisolid. The formation of a gel doesn’t involve mixing a metal with another element. Thus, option (A), a gel, is not the answer to this question.

Option (C) is an emulsion. An emulsion is a colloid in which small particles of one liquid are dispersed in another liquid. Again, this does not describe mixing a metal with another element. Thus, option (C), an emulsion, is not the answer to this question.

Option (D) is a suspension. A suspension is a type of heterogeneous mixture in which large particles are suspended in a medium. The large particles will settle to the bottom of the container over time. This is mostly due to the fact that the particles are insoluble. Again, this does not describe mixing a metal with another element. So option (D), a suspension, is not the answer to this question.

Option (E) is a metalloid. The metalloids are a series of elements that have some physical and chemical properties of metals and some physical and chemical properties of nonmetals. So as they are individual elements and not a result of mixing a metal with another element, then we can be sure that option (E) is not the answer to this question.

So the answer to the question “Which of the following is the name given to the resulting mixture when a metal and another element are mixed?” is (B), an alloy.

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