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All that glitters is not Gold; you have often heard that told!

GOAL: Meet Gold (Au), a Noble Metal. Catalysis.

You, Mary, and Henry met Gold, an atom from the family of the Transition Metals.  However, he and his nine siblings form a small subfamily called the Noble Metals.  The atoms of the sub-family (that belongs to the Transition Metals family) are very reactive as atoms but not as metals. As metals, the Noble Metals’ atoms are happy and feel complete. They are several reasons, but the most important is that their s subshell (which suffers a contraction (Lanthanide Contraction)) is closer to the atom’s belly. 

The outermost d subshell is full.  That property of the Noble Metals (shrunken radius and inner valence s subshell) allows humans to use the Noble Metal as a facilitator of electron transfer between two reacting molecules/atoms in a process called “Catalysis”. Noble Metals do so without messing (reacting) with those compounds. Still, they just help their electrons to move faster from molecules to compounds through them: they make the reaction go quicker, and a CATALYST had born!

Gold and Platinum, Gold and his brother, Platinum, are the most stable atoms, and when combined with tuples, they form bulk metals.  In general, Metals are attacked by Oxygen and water, transforming back the metal to Metal Oxides. But Oxygen and water cannot attack the Noble Metals.  They remain shiny and beautiful; that is, they do not “tarnish”.  Particularly, Gold has that pretty color and high luster.  Noble Metals have the highest electronegativity (want to grab electrons from other atoms) among the Transition Metals.  While Transition Metals have mostly positive Oxidation States (lose electrons), Noble Metals can have negative Oxidations States.  But, remember, although the atoms are reactive, the bulk metals are inert!


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