Metals are elements that lose electrons easily, they are pliable, and shiny. Metals can be categorized in several ways, one of them is called transition metals. The elements comprising transition metals are listed under the D or F orbitals of the periodic table. There are four types of orbitals (S,P,. D, and F) in the periodic table that define the way the electrons are arranged.
The D and F orbitals consists of 40 transition metal elements, amongst which, 28 elements belong to the actinide and lanthanide series. Moreover, there are about hundred transition metals, and they have similar properties. For instance, scandium through zinc, and lanthanum through mercury are the types of transition metals. Transition metals are lustrous, silvery, hard, and good conductors of heat and electricity. However, properties between individual elements vary; for instance, tungsten does not melt at room temperature, whereas mercury is a liquid at room temperature.
The global transition metals market is estimated to witness rapid growth due to the strong demand from construction and transportation sectors during the forecast period. Rapid industrialization and government support in the emerging regions such as Asia Pacific and Central & South America are projected to aid in growth of construction and automotive industries. Environmental concerns and regulations on excessive mining are anticipated to hamper the regional as well as global market.
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Based on type, the transition metals market can be segregated into iron, titanium, copper, cobalt, nickel, and others. Iron element is anticipated to lead the transition metals market. It is employed in several industries in the form of alloys. For instance, iron is mixed with other elements (vanadium, tungsten, etc.) to obtain alloys such as steel. Steel is widely utilized as a structural material, and is strong and flexible. It is used in construction & buildings, automobile, marine, cosmetics, and other end-use industries. Titanium has low density, as compared to steel, and has good mechanical strength. It is abundantly employed in the paints & coating industry in the form of white pigments.
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In terms of end-use industries, the transition metals market can be segmented into construction & building, automotive, marine, electronics, paints & coatings, consumer goods, and others. Transition metals are extremely versatile elements, and have potential to be utilized in various applications. In terms of versatility, they are malleable and ductile, which make them ideal materials in the manufacture of metal-based products. This, in turn, is anticipated to boost the demand for transition metals in the automotive and marine industries. Transition metals are also utilized in wires and cables as they are good conductors of heat and electricity, thus covering a wide scope of applications in many industries. Increasing demand for versatile and adaptable metals in the construction, medical, electrical and automotive industries is projected to fuel the global transition metals market.
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In terms of geography, the transition metals market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. North America is anticipated to lead the global transition metals market. Rise in research and development expenditure and mining activities by major players operating in countries of North America is anticipated to increase the demand for cobalt, nickel, platinum, iron, and others, thereby boosting the demand for transition metals in the region. Asia Pacific and Europe are anticipated to present lucrative opportunities for the transition metals market due to increasing investment opportunities for companies in these immature markets, and the increased focus of mining companies toward Asia as an R&D outsourcing destination. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are emerging markets for transition metals.
Key players operating in the global transition metals market include Transition Metals Corp (Canada), Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co (U.S.), Vedanta Resources plc (U.K.), Samancor Chrome. (South Africa), Fortescue Metals Group Limited (Australia), Vale S.A.(Brazil), Teck (Canada), and Rio Tinto Group (U.K.).