Is Lead a Transition Metal? (+ 3 More Things to Know)

No, lead is not a transition metal. Transition metals are elements that belong to the d-block of the periodic table. They are characterized by having partially filled d-orbitals in their electron configuration. 1 Lead is located in Group 14 of the periodic table and is considered a post-transition metal.

Well, this was just a simple answer. But there are few more things to know about this topic which will make your concept super clear.

So let’s dive right into it.

Key Takeaways: Is lead a transition metal?

  • Lead is not classified as a transition metal; it is considered a post-transition metal or a poor metal.
  • Transition metals have partially filled d-orbitals, while lead lacks partially filled d-orbitals.
  • Transition metals exhibit complex ion formation, variable oxidation states, catalytic activity, and metallic properties, whereas lead shows limited coordination chemistry, catalytic activity, and metallic behavior compared to transition metals.

Why is lead not a transition metal?

Lead (Pb) is not classified as a transition metal because it does not meet the criteria for transition metals based on its electronic configuration and chemical properties.

In the case of lead, its electron configuration is [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p2. The d-orbitals are completely filled in the ground state electron configuration, meaning that lead does not have any partially filled d-orbitals. 2

Transition metals, on the other hand, have partially filled d-orbitals, which allows them to exhibit the unique properties associated with this group of elements.

Lead is classified as a post-transition metal or a poor metal. 3 These elements are found to the right of the transition metals on the periodic table and have properties that differ from both the transition metals and the main group elements.

What are the characteristics of transition metals? And how lead differs from transition metals?

Transition metals possess several characteristic properties, which differentiate them from other elements. These properties include:

  • Partially filled d-orbitals: Transition metals have partially filled d-orbitals, but Lead does not have partially filled d-orbitals like transition metals.
  • Complex ion formation: Transition metals can form complex ions, while Lead can form complex ions but with limited coordination chemistry compared to transition metals. 4
  • Variable oxidation states: Transition metals exhibit multiple oxidation states, similar to Lead which also exhibits variable oxidation states of +2 and +4. 5 6
  • Catalytic activity: Transition metals are known for their catalytic activity, whereas Lead exhibits limited catalytic activity compared to transition metals.
  • Metallic properties: Transition metals possess metallic properties such as being good conductors of heat and electricity, and Lead shares some metallic properties but is less effective in this regard compared to transition metals.

Further reading

Is Zinc a Transition Metal?
Is Copper a Transition Metal?
Is Oxygen a Halogen?
Why is Chlorine a Halogen?
Why is Iodine a Halogen? 

About author

Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. He is a founder of Pediabay and is passionate about helping students through his easily digestible explanations.

Read more about our Editorial process.


  1. Hartshorn, R. M., Hellwich, K. H., Yerin, A., Damhus, T., & Hutton, A. T. (2015, July 29). Brief guide to the nomenclature of inorganic chemistry. Pure and Applied Chemistry, 87(9–10), 1039–1049.
  2. It’s Elemental – The Element Lead. (n.d.). It’s Elemental – the Element Lead.
  3. P. (n.d.). Lead | Pb (Element) – PubChem. Lead | Pb (Element) – PubChem.
  4. Complex Ions. (n.d.). Complex Ions.
  5. Oxidation States of Transition Metals. (2013, October 2). Chemistry LibreTexts.
  6. Transition metal – Wikipedia. (2021, January 28). Transition Metal – Wikipedia.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top