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metals and nonmetals

The surface of the Earth has many different types of elements available. From simple soil to expensive metals, it is filled with essential non-living things. All these materials are used for some of the purposes. 

These elements are classified into Metals and Nonmetals. There are 118 elements present in the periodic table, among which 95 are metals, and 18 are nonmetals. The periodic table is given below. 

Before studying the physical and chemical features of metals and nonmetals, we need to know what are metals and nonmetals. Let us study more about metals and nonmetals.

What are Metals?

Metals are solid substances which are thermal conductivity, high electricity ductility, etc. The metals can be classified into Alkaline Earth Metals, Alkali Metals, Transition Metals, Lanthanides and Actinides. 

In a periodic table, you will also find metalloids that fall in between metals and nonmetals. 

These elements exhibit the nature of both metals and nonmetals. We will find metal ore in almost every place on the surface of the Earth. Some of the examples of metals are aluminium, sodium, magnesium, mercury, etc.

Metals exhibit a lot of different physical and chemical features which are completely different from nonmetals. Let us discuss the physical and chemical features of metal. 

Physical Features of metals

Metals have a lot of physical features. Some of them are as follows:

  • Metals are malleable in nature. Due to this property, metals can be used to make thin wires. These wires do not break easily and can retain for a longer period. 
  • Metals are soil, except mercury, as it is always in a liquid state. But, almost every metal is available in its solid form. Aluminium is a soft solid metal.
  • Metals can conduct heat and electricity. It is one of the best properties of metal. It is a good conductor of heat and electricity and cannot melt or break easily due to its sturdy nature.
  • Metals are very lustrous, which is why metals are used to make jewellery. Also, the metals used to make jewellery do not react with the skin easily. The lustrous surface helps to make the metal jewellery shiny and eye-catchy.
  • Metals are very strong, sturdy. It is not very easy to break metal; we will need a lot of hitting to distort any metal.
  • Metals are very heavy, and one cannot carry a lot of metal from one place to another.
  • Metals can produce sound. Due to this nature, many musical instruments are made with metals.
  • Metals are opaque objects as light cannot pass through them.
  • Metals have a very high melting and boiling point. It also has a very high density.

Chemical features of metals

Some of the chemical features that almost every metal has are as follows:

  • If metals are left outside in the weather, they can easily get corroded.
  • Metals can easily form oxides as they can react with oxygen and change their form immediately. Like if sodium comes in contact with oxygen, it will immediately form sodium oxide.
  • As metals can lose their electrons easily, it is electropositive element. 
  • Metals are very good reducing agents due to their being an electropositive element.
  • Metals have 1 to 3 electrons present in their shells. 

How do we get metals?

Metals are extracted from metal ores to get the pure form of any metal. There are many steps that we need to follow to extract metal from any of its ores. 

The metallic ores are first classified into highly reactive metals, medically reactive metals, and low-reactive metals. Then these metals are extracted by following a few steps.

What are nonmetals?

Nonmetals are those elements that can easily react with metal and do not exhibit any properties of metals. In the periodic table, the numbers of nonmetals are much lesser than the numbers of metals. Nonmetals can easily react with metals and can change their form. 

Some of the examples of nonmetals are hydrogen, nitrogen, helium, neon, etc. Like metals, nonmetals also possess physical and chemical features. Let us discuss some physical and chemical features of nonmetals.

Physical Features of Nonmetals

Every element has different physical features. The physical features of nonmetals are as follows:

  • Nonmetals are malleable in nature; hence, they can be rolled into wires as they are hard.
  • Nonmetals are brittle. Due to this, they can break easily and become fragile.
  • Nonmetals can be in solid, liquid or gaseous state at normal room temperature. 
  • Nonmetals are poor conductors of heat and electricity. Hence, they are insulators that can be used to protect metals as they cannot conduct heat or electricity easily.
  • Nonmetals are transparent, as you can see clear pictures from the other side of the passage of light.
  • Nonmetals are non-sonorous as they cannot produce any kind of sound.

Chemical features of nonmetals

Nonmetals possess a lot of chemical features. The chemical features of nonmetals are as follows:

  • Nonmetals can accept or gain valence electrons, i.e., they can easily accept negative electrons from metals or any other element.
  • Nonmetals can easily react with oxygen and form acidic oxides. For example, nitrogen can easily react with oxygen to form nitric oxide, a very harmful and strong acid. 
  • Nonmetals never react with water. Even though there is oxygen present in the water, they cannot react with it. 
  • Nonmetals are highly electronegative in nature. They can accept negative electrons.
  • Nonmetals have 4 to 8 electrons in their shells.
  • Nonmetals are very good oxidising agents that can go through the oxidation process by simply accepting or reducing negative electrons.


Metals are nonmetals that are completely different elements that can react with each other to form new elements. Metals are used in our daily lives in the form of utensils, jewellery, electric wires etc. All these elements are useful in some ways. 

On the other hand, nonmetals are used to protect us from getting burnt from too much heating of metals or covering the metal wires with nonmetals as they are insulators. There is a lot more about metals and nonmetals, which are very interesting. 

So, you should read more about them to gain complete knowledge.

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