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Metals and Nonmetals: Let’s Differentiate Them Chemically Physically?

Before getting to the physical and chemical properties of metals/non-metals, let’s grab the basics first.

The elements that are tough, smooth, lustrous, malleable, flexible and excellent conductors of electricity and heat are referred to as metals. Examples include Copper, Iron, Aluminium and Gold. The most abundant metal found in the crust of the Earth is aluminium.

The transformation of one kind of material to another is a property of chemistry. It’s any property in a material that is a result of a chemical reaction. The process by which some or all of the new substances are produced is a chemical alteration. Sometimes chemical changes are referred to as chemical reactions.

So, come and explore the world of metals and nonmetals with us now!

Properties of Metals and Nonmetals

Metals and non-metals are essential to our life. There is no way to survive without non-metals such as oxygen, and our survival will be difficult without the presence of metals. What is the science behind these elements? We’ll explore how chemical compounds work for metals and non-metals. Some general properties are

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  • The majority of metals are solid, except for Mercury. Metals are electropositive elements. That’s the reason they give electrons to make positive ions solid.
  • Non-metals are substances that don’t conduct electricity or heat and aren’t malleable or ductile. Non-metals are brittle, non-lustrous and insulate—for example – carbon, oxygen, Phosphorus etc.
  • Of the 22 non-metals, 10 are solid, while one non-metal called Bromine is liquid. The eleven non-metals that are not solids are gaseous.
  • Non-metals are elements that make negative ions by gaining electrons. The non-metals have electronegative properties.
  • Hydrogen is the only non-metal that is electronegative. It loses electrons.

Chemical Properties of Metals

  • All metals react with oxygen and form metal oxides
  • All metals react with chlorine and form ionic metal chlorides.
  • Metals react with water and generate metal oxide and hydrogen gas.
  • Metals react with dilute acid and form a metal salt and hydrogen gas.
  • Only a few metals like K, Ca, Mg, and Na, react with hydrogen and form metal hydrides.

Chemical Properties of Non-metals

In the chemical properties of metals/non-metals, we’ll now rectify the chemical properties of non-metals

  • All non-metals react with oxygen and form acidic or neutral oxides.
  • Non-metals react with chlorine and form covalent chlorides.
  • Non-metals don’t react with water.
  • Non-metals don’t react with dilute acids.
  • Non-metals react with hydrogen and form covalent Hydrides.

Physical Properties of Metals and Non-metals

Metals are often associated with shiny, hard objects, and non-metals are dull light objects. They’re just the physical properties of non-metals and metals. We are all aware of how beneficial non-metals and metals are, but are we aware of their characteristics? Let’s discover how metals and non-metals exhibit physical attributes.

Physical Properties of Metals

Physical properties of the metal are:

  • Metals are malleable.
  • Metals are tremendous conductors of heat and electricity.
  • Metals are ductile.
  • Metals are Lustrous, and we can polish them.
  • Metals’ melting and boiling points are generally high.
  • Metals are solid at room temperature.
  • All metals are strong.
  • Metals are heavy.
  • Metals are sonorous.
  • Generally, metals are hard.

Exceptions in Physical Properties of Metals

  • Metals have a high density. However, Lithium is an alkali-based metal with the lowest concentration of 0.53.
  • Metals are usually tough and can be found in solid-state. However, metals such as potassium and sodium are soft and can easily be reduced. Mercury is also a unique exception because it is in liquid form at room temperature.
  • Metals are solid materials that are insoluble in water. However, sodium and potassium comprise the primary metals which react with water, forming soluble hydroxides.
  • The majority of metals are sonorous like things, except for Mercury. It doesn’t generate any sound when struck with a hard surface.
  • Metals such as platinum, silver, gold don’t emit hydrogen gas when they react with acid.
  • All metals are malleable, except Mercury.

Physical Properties of Non-metals

The following are the properties of Non-metals:

  • Non-metals are non-ductile
  • These are non-malleable or brittle.
  • Non-metals are bad conductors of heat/electricity.
  • They may be liquid, Gases, or solid at room temperature.
  • Non-metals are non-lustrous, and we can’t polish them.
  • They have low melting/boiling points in contrast to metals.
  • Non-metals are non-sonorous.
  • Most Non-metals are soft.
  • Non-metals are not strong.
  • They’re light substances.

Exceptions in Physical Properties of Non-Metals

  • Carbon is a non-metal element, but it has the highest melting point.
  • In contrast to other non-metals like graphite and Iodine are metallic in shine or lustre.
  • Bromine is present in liquid form at room temperature, just like Mercury.
  • Diamond is the most well-known most durable material, even though it is not a metal.
  • Iodine is an element that’s not a metal weighting 4.9.

Two Similarities between Metals and Non-metals

Elemental Importance

Metals constitute the bulk of Earth’s crust. They include iron, aluminium as well as sodium and potassium. Certain elements, including potassium, can also be found in the human body. Non-metals, however, also have an essential role to play in this regard.

Scientists described life on Earth is carbon-based. This means that organic structures are composed of carbon, the main ingredient of other substances within their bodies, such as sugar. Carbon also occurs in the Earth’s crust.

Similar on a Basic Level

Metals are typically found in crystal structures, whereas non-metals come in several shapes. Noble gases are, as the name suggests, gasses that appear at temperatures of room temperature.

Every element can make compounds, but some are more difficult than others. Also, every element can change its state under certain conditions like low or high temperatures. Every element can trigger chemical reactions, which usually require a change in state or release of energy. However, certain elements, such as noble gasses, tend to be less prone to this.

A Word About Electronegativity

Electronegativity is an atom’s capacity to draw electrons to create a chemical bond. Thus, high electronegativity implies that it attracts electrons quickly, while low electronegativity means less ability to draw electrons.

As we know, non-metals have around 4-8 electrons that are present inside the outer layer. This means they are more likely to acquire electrons. So, we can conclude that non-metals have a high electronegativity.


Making a side-by-side chart is the perfect and unforgettable way to remember the meta and non-metals chemical and physical properties. Construct one today by entering the physical/chemical properties mentioned above, and ensure ease for yourself!


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