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Metals, Non-Metals and Metalloids

Last Updated : 16 Sep, 2021
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Matter is defined as any substance that has mass and occupies space by having a volume in classical physics and general chemistry. Daily objects that can be touched are ultimately made up of atoms, which are made up of interacting subatomic particles, and matter refers to atoms and everything made up of them, as well as any particles that act as if they have both rest mass and volume, in both everyday and scientific usage. It does not, however, include massless particles like photons, as well as other energy phenomena or waves like light. There are many different states of matter. 

Other states, such as plasma, Bose-Einstein condensates, fermionic condensates, and quark-gluon plasma, are possible in addition to the classic everyday phases of solid, liquid, and gas – for example, water exists as ice, liquid water, and gaseous steam – but other states, such as plasma, Bose-Einstein condensates, fermionic condensates, and quark-gluon plasma, are also possible. Aside from that, it’s divided into pure substances and mixes.

Pure Substances

A substance made up of only one type or sort of atom is referred to as an element. An element is a pure material since it cannot be broken down or changed into a different substance by physical or chemical means. Metals, non-metals, and metalloids are the most common elements.

Compounds, on the other hand, are pure entities formed by the chemical combination of two or more elements in a predetermined ratio. Chemical procedures, on the other hand, can break down these compounds into individual elements.

e.g. gold, copper, oxygen, chlorine, diamond, etc.

Properties Of Pure Substances:

  1. In nature, pure substances are generally homogeneous, with only one type of atoms or molecules.
  2. The majority of these compounds have a consistent or homogeneous makeup throughout.
  3. The boiling and melting points of the chemicals are fixed.
  4. In most cases, a pure substance participates in a chemical process to produce predictable results.

Elements: Elements are chemical compounds that correspond to a single spot on the current periodic table. Elements are made up of only one type of atom. They can exist as atoms or molecules and cannot be broken down into simpler bits. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) assigns symbols to elements. For example, the letters O and Al stand for oxygen and aluminium, respectively. 

The elements are placed in the periodic table and classified as metals, non-metals, or metalloids, based on their groupings.


A metal is a hard solid substance with a lustrous sheen that conducts heat and electricity. Metals are excellent heat and electrical conductors. Silver is the best heat conductor. Metals can also be hammered into sheets due to their malleability. Due to their ductility, metals may be pulled into wire. 

Most metals are solids at normal temperature and have a characteristic silvery gleam (except for mercury, which is a liquid). Metals normally have high melting points, but gallium and caesium have such low melting points that they will melt if you hold them in your palm. Alkali metals, such as lithium, sodium, and potassium, are another exception to the normal properties of metals since they are so soft that they may be sliced with a knife. They also have low melting points and densities. Lead, mercury, titanium, and chromium are poor heat conductors. Bismuth is the least efficient heat conductor.

e.g. Iron, Copper, Aluminium, Calcium, Magnesium, Gold, Silver etc.

Properties of Metals:

  • Adaptable (can be drawn into thin sheets)
  • Ductile iron (can be drawn into wires)
  • The colour of the lustre (shine) is silvery grey or golden yellow.
  • ethereal (makes a ringing sound when hit)
  • Except for mercury, which is liquid at room temperature, most metals are solid at room temperature.
  • Except for sodium and potassium, all metals are hard.
  • The outermost shell of metals has one to three electrons.
  • Metals are excellent heat and electrical conductors (they have free electrons in their outermost shell.)
  • Metals have a relatively high density (mass of a unit volume of a material substance)
  • Except for sodium and potassium, which have low melting and boiling points due to their strong metallic connections, metals have high melting and boiling points.


Nonmetals are elements that either lack or have properties that are diametrically opposed to those of metals. They frequently have weak thermal and electrical conductivities. They are brittle and lack the malleability and ductility of other materials. 

At normal temperature, the majority of elemental nonmetals are gaseous, whereas others are solids. Bromine is a liquid, non-metal substance. Except for iodine, non-metals lack a lustrous sheen. Nonmetals have low melting and boiling points in general. Carbon is a nonmetal that comes in a variety of forms known as allotropes. The hardest natural substance known, diamond is an allotrope of carbon with very high melting and boiling point. In the case of nonmetals, this is an exception. Another exception is graphite, another allotrope of carbon that is a good conductor of electricity. Non-metals have a lower density than metals.

e.g. Oxygen, carbon, sulfur, hydrogen, phosphorous, nitrogen, chlorine, etc.

Properties of Non-Metals:

  • Non-metals are available in a variety of colours.
  • Except for iodine and diamond, non-metals have no shine in nature (since they have no metallic lustre and do not reflect light).
  • Except for carbon, non-metals are non-malleable in nature (due to their brittleness, they cannot be formed into sheets).
  • Non-metals are inherently non-ductile (as they are very brittle, they cannot be drawn into wires.)
  • Except for diamonds, non-metals are soft.
  • Except for graphite, non-metals are poor heat and electrical conductors.


Metalloids have qualities that are halfway between metals and nonmetals. When it comes to physical qualities, they are closer to nonmetals, but under particular conditions, many of them may be induced to conduct electricity, contrary to expectations. 

Computers and other electronic equipment make use of these semiconductors. They can have a dingy or metallic look to them. These elements are arranged diagonally in a periodic table. Typically, they are fragile. They combine metals to make alloys. In a chemical reaction, they can receive or lose electrons. They are used in industries as catalysts, biological agents, flame retardants, alloys, and semiconductors due to their unique features. Metalloids include boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, tellurium, and antimony, to name a few. 

e.g. Boron (B), Silicon (Si), Germanium (Ge), Arsenic (As), Antimony (Sb), Tellurium(Te) and Polonium (Po).

Properties of Metalloids:

  • Metalloids are materials that have properties of both metals and non-metals.
  • Metalloids are a group of about eight elements in the periodic table.

Sample Questions

Question 1: How do you differentiate between metals and non-metals?


Elements are made up of metals, non-metals, and metalloids. Metals are excellent heat and electricity conductors, as well as malleable (able to be hammered into sheets) and ductile materials (can be drawn into wire). Nonmetals often have a drab look, low melting temperatures, boiling boils, and densities, and are poor heat and electrical conductors.

Question 2: What metal is the softest?


Lead is one of the softest metals, and Caesium is the softest metal. Mercury is a liquid at ambient temperature (molten). At body temperature, gallium is a liquid, but at room temperature, it is a solid (if soft).

Question 3: What are the differences between metals, non-metals, and metalloids?


Metalloids are brittle solids that resemble metals and contain semiconductors or semiconducting components, as well as amphoteric and weakly acidic oxides. Non-metals are typically black or colourless, fragile when solid, poor heat and electrical conductors, and include acidic oxides. Metals are shiny, malleable, ductile, and excellent heat and electricity conductors.

Question 4: What are the three distinguishing properties of metalloids?


Metalloids have a lustrous appearance, but they are fragile and are merely good conductors of electricity. Chemically, they’re frequently non-metals. They have the ability to create steel alloys. In essence, several of their other physical and chemical features are intermediate.

Question 5: What distinguishes pure solutions from other types of solutions?


Boiling point, melting point, density, and other properties of pure materials are all unique. They are all homogeneous, meaning that their distribution in the aggregate is uniform. Elements and compounds are both pure substances.

Question 6: What is the most precious metal?


The metal rhodium is the rarest on the planet. It’s a highly reflective and corrosion-resistant silver-white metallic element. It is the world’s rarest and most valuable metal, far exceeding gold and silver. Rhodium is the rarest of the platinum group, occurring in the Earth’s crust at a rate of one part in 200 million. Up to 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit, it is unaffected by air or water (600 degrees Celsius). Rhodium’s chemical symbol is Rh. It has the atomic number 45 and the atomic weight 102.90550. It has a density of 12.41g/cm3 and is solid at normal temperature.

Question 7: What are some of the applications for non-metals?


The applications of non-metals are as follows:

  1. Iodine aids in the treatment of throat infections and is used as an antiseptic in the treatment of wounds and cuts.
  2. As a bleaching agent, chlorine is utilised. It is used to kill dangerous germs in drinking water.
  3. Helium is utilised as an inert gas in scientific studies. It is also utilised in the manufacture of balloons.
  4. Apart from playing a crucial role in the respiration process, oxygen is also used in the steel and metal production industries.
  5. In fireworks, Sulphur and phosphorus are employed.
  6. Fertilizers contain nitrogen.
  7. In ultrafiltration and to control foul odours in the refrigerator, charcoal, an amorphous form of carbon, is employed.

Question 8: What occurs if you come into contact with calcium metal?


Calcium will react with water or moisture that causes heat. When calcium metal comes into contact with moisture in the eyes, body, or lungs, it can cause severe corrosive irritation.

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