Properties of Metals and Non-Metals
Metals and Non-metals have different properties and reactivity with other elements. This difference between the physical and chemical properties of elements depends on their position in the periodic table. The physical properties of substances (or elements) include tendencies like conductivity, density, malleability, ductility, lustrousness, physical state, etc. Moreover, the chemical properties of elements can include reactions with other elements and compounds, in order to check their reactivity, also include electronegativity, etc. Here is the periodic table showing metals, non-metals, and metalloids at different position and are highlighted with different colors, as shown below:
What is a Metal?
In chemistry, an element is considered to be a metal if it readily forms the positive ions known as cations and has a tendency to form metallic bonds.
The chemical and physical characteristics of the metals, such as malleability, ductility, ionization, bonding properties, etc, help to distinguish them from each other.
As shown in the figure above of the periodic table, group 1st elements except hydrogen, group 2nd to 12th elements, and some elements from group 13th to 17th including Lanthanoids and Actinides are metals. Some of the commonly known metals are Iron, Copper, Gold, Silver, etc.
Properties of Metals
Metals exhibit various properties depending on their physical and chemical behavior. The metals are widely used in our day-to-day life as well as in industrial purposes depending on their properties. Here are the following physical and chemical properties shown by metals:
Physical Properties of Metals
- Lustrous: Metals are lustrous in nature, but what does it mean? Lustrous means shiny surface for example gold and silvery have metallic luster thus they are used for making jewelry. Also, utensils made of metals have a metallic luster.
- Good conductor of electricity and heat: Metal is a good conductor of electricity and heat. This is the reason we used metallic utensils for cooking as they conduct heat to the food. Also, we used metallic wire as metals are good conductors of heat. The best conductor of heat and electricity are copper and silver, while mercury and lead are poor conductors.
- High density and melting point: All the metals have a high melting point as well as it has high density. Here density refers to the mass of a substance per unit volume and melting point refers to the temperature at which solids start melting.
- Malleable and Ductile: Metals are malleable means they can be beaten into a sheet by hammer or rolling. Also, metals are ductile in nature i.e. they can be easily stretched into a wire when they get pulled. Gold is the most ductile metal that can stretch up to 1 km with the use of 1 gm of gold only.
- Sonorous: The property is shown by the metal when it strikes a hard surface producing a sound called sonorous. Earlier school bells were made of metals due to the sonority property.
- Solid State: At room temperature, metals exist in a solid state except for mercury which exists in a liquid state at room temperature. Also, metals are hard in nature and their hardness varies from metal to metal.
Chemical Properties of Metals
- Easily corrodible: Metals have the property to get easily corrode, corrosion refers to a process when the metal is naturally converted into a stable form like oxide, sulfide, or hydroxide that leads to the destruction of the metal. For example, rusting of iron metal.
- Can lose electrons: Metals can form positive charge ions by losing their electron when reacting with a non-metal.
- Form basic oxides: Metal can form basic oxides when reacting with oxygen. While some metal oxides like aluminum oxide and zinc oxide show both acidic and basic behavior. These types of oxides are called amphoteric oxides.
- Have low electronegativities: Electronegativity is referred to the ability of the atom to attract electrons to form a chemical bond. So high electronegativity means it will attract electrons very easily, and low electronegativity means less ability to attract electrons. Thus, metals have low electronegativity.
What are Non-Metals?
On the other hand, Non-Metals lie on the left side of the periodic table. Non-Metals do not show any metallic properties like it does not conduct heat and electricity, neither malleable nor ductile in nature.
Oxygen, Carbon are some examples of Non-Metals. Also, non-metals majorly exist in the gaseous state while metals are present in the solid state.
Properties of Non-Metals
Non-metals also exhibit various properties depending on their physical and chemical behavior, as metals do. The non-metals have wide applications, in manufacturing different chemicals and are highly important in our day-to-day life. Here are some important physical and chemical properties of non-metals that are explained below:
Physical Properties of Non-Metals
- Non-Lustrous: Non-Metals do not have any shine, or we can say non-lustrous. While diamond and iodine are the exceptions as they are lustrous in nature.
- Bad conductor of Heat and Electricity: Unlike metals, non-metals are poor conductors of heat and electricity except Graphite which is a very good conductor of electricity.
- Low density and melting point: Most non-metals are very low melting points and low densities.
- Brittle: Non-Metals are very much brittle in nature means they can break if they got stretched or beaten, that means non-metals are neither malleable nor ductile in nature.
- Sonorous: Non-Metals are non-sonorous as they do not produce any ringing sounds.
- Solid, Liquid, Gas: Most of the non-metals are present in the gaseous state, but there are some metals too which exist in the liquid and solid states too.
Chemical Properties of Non-Metal
- 4-8 electrons in the outer shell: Basically, the non-metals outer shell has 4 to 8 electrons, and thus it has the tendency to attract electrons.
- Can gain electrons: Non-Metals can form charge ions by gaining their electron when reacting with a metal.
- Form acidic oxides: Non-Metal can form acidic oxides when reacting with oxygen.
- Have high electronegativities: Since we have already discussed what is electronegativity, and we know in non-metals there are 4-8 electrons present in the outer shell thus it has more ability to gain electrons. Thus, we can say that non-metals have high electronegativity.
FAQs on Properties of Metals and Non-Metals
Question 1: What do you mean by electronegativity?
Electronegativity is referred to the ability of the atom to attract electrons to form a chemical bond. So high electronegativity means it will attract electrons very easily, and low electronegativity means less ability to attract electrons.
Question 2: Why gold and silver is used for making ornaments?
This is due to the Lustrous property of metals which makes gold and silver shiny and attractable.
Question 3: “All non-metals are poor conductors of electricity”. If the above statement is correct, give reasons for your answer.
This statement is incorrect as graphite a non-metal which is a good conductor of electricity.
Question 4: What do you mean by metals and non-metals?
Metals are bulk of elements present in the periodic table, it is shiny in nature, conduct heat as well as electricity, and malleable and ductile. For example iron, copper, gold and silver are Metals.
On the other hand, Non-Metals lie on the left side of the periodic table. Non-Metals does not show any metallic property like it does not conduct heat and electricity, neither malleable nor ductile in nature. Oxygen, Carbon are some examples of Non-Metals.
Question 5: Which metal is not solid at room temperature? Write the chemical formula of that metal.
Mercury (Hg) is the only metal which is not solid at room temperature, it exists in liquid form.
Exception in Physical and Chemical Properties of Metals and Non-Metals
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