Difference between a metal and a non metal


What are metals? How can you distinguish a non metal from a metal? Searching for examples of metals and non metals? Are metals good conductors of electricity? Check out this post to know interesting facts of metals and non metals regarding its physical property, chemical property, examples and many more.

Metals and non metals are common words used in Chemistry. Do you know the actual meaning of these 2 words? First of all, lets start with elements. There are all together 118 elements in periodic table as of 2016. These elements are classified as metals and non metals based on their physical and chemical properties. Common examples of metals are alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals, actinides and lanthanides. Examples for non metals are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, sulfur, selenium, halogens and noble gases.

Generally we can say that metals are non transparent and have the property of giving a bell like sound if we struck. They also have the tendency to lose electron in a chemical reaction and are considered as good reducing agents. They can even form basic oxides. But non metals are transparent and good oxidising agents. They won't give any special sounds when struck and have a special tendency to form acidic oxides.

First lets check the names and symbols of elements present in each metallic and non metallic group of periodic table. Alkali metal are group 1 elements which include Lithium(Li), Sodium(Na), Potassium(K), Rubidium(Rb), Caesium(Cs) and Francium(Fr). Alkaline earth metals are group 2 elements of periodic table that includes Beryllium(Be), Magnesium(Mg), Calcium(Ca), Strontium(Sr), Barium(Ba) and Radium(Ra). Transition metals are Scandium(Sc), Titanium(Ti), Vanadium(V), Chromium(Cr), Manganese(Mn), Iron(Fe), Cobalt(Co), Nickel(Ni), Copper(Cu), Zinc(Zn), Yttrium(Y), Zirconium(Zr), Niobium(Nb), Molybdenum(Mo), Technetium(Tc), Ruthenium(Ru), Rhodium(Rh), Palladium(Pd), Silver(Ag), Cadmium(Cd), Hafnium(Hf), Tantalum(Ta), Tungsten(W), Rhenium(Re), Osmium(Os), Iridium(Ir), Platinum(Pt), Gold(Au), Mercury(Hg), Rutherfordium(Rf), Dubnium(Db), Seaborgium(Sg), Bohrium(Bh), Hassium(Hs), Meitnerium(Mt), Ununnilium(Uun), Unununium(Uuu) and Ununbium(Uub). Elements of halogen family are Fluorine(F), Chlorine(Cl), Bromine(Br), Iodine(I) and Astatine(At) while the noble gas elements include Helium(He), Neon(Ne), Argon(Ar), Krypton(Kr), Xenon(Xe) and Radon(Rn) respectively. If you learn the names and symbols of each group elements, then it will be easy for you to give examples for metals and non metals. Lets check out the other special properties of these metals and non metals(Some I have mentioned above).

  • Metals have a shiny appearance but non metals have a dull appearance
Examples of metals having shiny appearance include Gold and Silver.
  • Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity while non metals are poor conductors of heat and electricity
Examples of metals that are good conductors of heat and electricity include Iron, Copper, Aluminium, Gold and Silver.
  • Metals have low electronegativity but non metals have high electronegativity
Fluorine is the element with high electronegativity while Actinium has low electronegativity.
  • Metals are good reducing agents. On the otherhand non metals are good oxidising agents
Common reducing agents are Iron, Zinc and Lithium while common oxidising agents are halogens.
  • Metals have high MP while non metals form low MP
Carbon is the element with highest melting point while Helium has low melting point.
  • We can hammer a metal but in the case of a non metal, hammering is not possible
Examples of metals that can be hammered include Gold and Silver.
  • Metals are ductile while non metals are not
Examples of ductile metals are Copper, Aluminium, Iron and Magnesium.


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