Metals and Non Metals

4 minute read
Metals and Non Metals

We come across a variety of substances in our daily lives and they can be easily put into categories like metals and non-metals. Utensils, wood, wires, aluminium almirahs, etc are some of the most common examples of it. Metals and non-metals are an important topic in General Science and thus, having conceptual clarity will help you score better not only at the school-level examinations but also in competitive exams like SSC, RRB, etc. Read through this informative blog to prepare this topic well!

Origin of Ores

What are Metals?

Metals are naturally occurring substances which are solid in nature and take shape of their own. Most of the elements in the periodic table are metals. The major types of metals are:

  • Alkali metals 
  • Alkaline earth metals 
  • Actinides 
  • Transition metals 
  • Lanthanides, etc 

Now that you are familiar with what are metals, let us have a look at its physical and chemical properties which will help us distinguish better between the two types of elements.

Physical Properties  

The attributes related to the physical appearance of the metals constitute its physical properties. Understanding this characteristic will help you get a better hold of the concepts related to metals and non metals as well as how they are distinct from each other.

  • All the metals are solid in their shape with the exception of Mercury, which is present in the liquid form. 
  • Metals are ductile in nature and can be drawn into thin wires. The most common ductile metals are Copper and Aluminium which are used in electrical wires.
  • Mealability, which refers to the ability of metals to be drawn into thin sheets is another important attribute. Gold and Silver are highly malleable metals and are used for making jewellery.
  • Metals are lustrous. They shine and reflect back the light whenever it falls on it.
  • Metals are sonorous i.e., they produce sound when they are being hit with an object. 
  • Most of the metals are hard and cannot be cut with a knife except for Sodium and Potassium. 
  • Majority of the metals have high melting and boiling points. 
  • Metals have high density.  
  • Metals are opaque and do not allow light to pass through them. 

Chemical Properties

When metals react with other substances or undergo any chemical reaction, most of them exhibit similar properties. Understanding the chemical properties of the metals will help you gain a better understanding of the topic.

  • Metals can get easily corroded 
  • They are good conductors of heat and electricity 
  • Whenever metals come in contact with oxygen, they form oxides 
  • Metals are electropositive elements and have low electronegativity 
  • They also work as reducing agents 

Must Read: BSc Geology

What are Non Metals?

Any chemical element which does not possess similar properties like that of metals are known as Non-metals. Positioned on the right side of the table, the number of non-metals are less in comparison to metals. 

Physical Properties 

The various aspects of the physical appearance of non-metals determine its physical properties, some of which have been given a rundown below.

  • They are neither ductile nor malleable 
  • They can be easily broken down into pieces 
  • They are not sonorous in nature
  • Transparency is a property seen in some of the non-metals 
  • They can exist in a state of solid, liquid and gas at room temperatures 
  • Non metals are bad conductors of heat and electricity 

Chemical Properties 

Non-metals, upon reacting with various elements reflect some specific chemical properties. To understand the key differences between metals and non-metals, refer to the below-mentioned pointers:

  • Non metals react with oxygen and form acidic oxides
  • They have high electronegativity 
  • They do not react with water 
  • Most of the non-metals are oxidizing agents

Quick Read: Basic Chemistry

Difference Between Metals and Non Metals: Summary

After getting a hold of the basic concepts and properties related to this topic, let us thoroughly examine both the elements on a set of parameters.

Category  Metals  Non-metals 
State at room temperature  Solid  Solid or Gas
Nature  Electropositive  Electronegative 
Density  High Density  Low Density 
Structure  Crystalline  Amorphic 
Hardness  Majority of the metals are hard Majority of the non-metals are soft
Appearance  Lustrous and Shiny Non-lustrous
Ductility  Ductile  Non-ductile 
Malleability  Malleable  Non-malleable 
Conductivity (Heat and Electricity) Conductor  Insulator  
Sonority  Sonorous  Non-sonorous 
Melting Point   High Melting Point   Low Melting Point  
Boiling Point   High Boiling Point   Low Boiling Point  
Oxygen  Forms basic oxides when reacts with oxygen  Forms acidic oxides on reacting with oxygen 
Acid  Produces Hydrogen gas when reacts with an acid  Do not react with acid 
Electrons 1-3 electrons in the outer shell 4-8 electrons in the outer shell

Check out our exclusive blog on MPC Subjects!

We hope that this blog on metals and non-metals has helped you build a strong foundation of the topic! Chemistry is a very broad domain, due to which, scores of universities across the world offer a range of courses to pursue. However, completing application formalities and writing an SOP can be a tedious task. But don’t worry!  Reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who will not only help you craft an impressive personal essay but will also provide assistance in the admission process!

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