The Unique Distinguishing Properties of Metals and Nonmetals
Mar 17, 2019
Tap to Read ➤
Metals are electropositive and exist as solids at room temperature. On the other hand, nonmetals are electronegative and can occur as a solid, liquid, or gas at room temperature. We have enlisted various properties of metals and nonmetals with some examples.
Exception to the Rule
Metals are considered to be solids, but mercury is a metal that occurs in the liquid state.
Elements can be classified into metals, nonmetals, and metalloids.
The classification solely depends on their nature and the properties they exhibit. The differences in their properties is clearly visible from their placement in the periodic table.
While metals are placed on the left-hand side, nonmetals are placed on the right-hand side of the periodic table.
The properties of any element are defined by the number of electrons present in their valence shell. In case of metals, the outer shell contains 1-3 electrons, whereas the outer shell of nonmetals contains 4-8 electrons. Their configuration imparts them the chemical and physical properties they possess. Let us see some characteristics of both of them.
Properties of Metals
♦ They are solids at room temperature.
♦ They possess a shine or luster and can be polished.
♦ They can be flattened into thin sheets. This property is called malleability.
♦ They can be drawn into thin wires. This property is called ductility.
♦ They conduct electricity very well. Thus, they are called conductors.
♦ They are heavier in weight.
♦ They have a high tensile strength.
♦ They are opaque.
♦ They are capable of producing a bell-like sound when hit.
♦ They have a high density because the atoms in their structure are closely packed.
♦ They have high melting and boiling points.
♦ On undergoing any chemical reaction, they lose electrons and form positively charged cations.
♦ They are electropositive and considered to be good reducing agents.
♦ Metals are known to form ionic compounds.
♦ On reaction with dilute acids, they release hydrogen.
♦ The chloride and hydride compounds formed by metals are in the solid state.
♦ They like to react with nonmetals.
♦ They form oxides that are basic in nature. Consider a reaction of magnesium with oxygen.