Courses for Kids
Free study material
Free LIVE classes

What are Metals and Non-Metals?

An Introduction to Metals and Non-Metals

Last updated date: 18th Mar 2023
Total views: 438.3k
Views today: 5.18k

Metals and nonmetals are two distinct types of materials that we come across in our everyday life. Metals and non-metals are two categories of elements. Nonmetals (such as phosphorus and sulphur) are insulators, while metals (such as copper and aluminum) are good conductors of heat and electricity. Materials are classified according to their physical and chemical properties. Understanding the difference between metal and non metal will help students form a base for learning advanced chemistry. On the basis of their physical and chemical properties, scientists had discovered the arrangement of metals and nonmetals periodic table.


Metals account for the majority of the elements in the periodic table. Alkali metals, lanthanides, actinides, transition metals, and alkaline earth metals are all examples of this. In a periodic table, metals are separated from nonmetals by a line that runs from carbon to radon. The elements that distinguish the two are phosphorus, selenium, and iodine.

Non Metals

Non-metals account for half of the periodic table. These can be found on the periodic table's right-hand side. Sulphur, carbon, all halogens, phosphorus, hydrogen, oxygen, selenium, nitrogen, and noble gases are all non-metals. Bromine is a non-metal which is liquid at room temperature.

Position of Metals in the Periodic Table

Nonmetals are these and the elements next to them in the periodic table. Semimetals or metalloids are elements that exist just to the left of the line. These will have qualities that are a mix of metals and nonmetals.

Position of Non-Metals in the Periodic Table 

Non-metals are found to the left of halogens and to the right of metalloids in the periodic table. Noble gases and halogens are commonly referred to as non-metals. 

Periodic Table Metals and Non-metals Positions

In Periodic table metals and nonmetals are shown above. The pink color above indicates the nonmetal periodic table and the blue color indicates the metals periodic table. Among these diamonds and iodine are lustrous nonmetals. Fluorine is the most reactive nonmetal. Bromine is a liquid non metal at room temperature.

Physical Properties of Metals 

  • Metals are solids at room temperature (Gallium is liquid on hot days), except mercury which is liquid at room temperature.

  • Luster: Metals, such as gold, silver, and copper, have the ability to reflect light from their surface and can be polished.

  • Metals are malleable, meaning they can survive hammering and be formed into thin sheets known as foils. A sugar cube-sized lump of gold, for example, maybe crushed into a thin sheet large enough to cover a football field.

  • Metals can be pulled into wires due to their ductility. For example, 100 g of silver can be pulled into a 200-meter-long thin wire.

  • Hardness: Except for sodium and potassium, which are soft and can be cut with a knife, all metals are hard.

  • Metals have 1 to 3 electrons in the outermost shell of their atoms, which gives them their valency.

  • Metals are good conductors due to their abundance of free electrons. Silver and copper are the best heat and electricity conductors. Lead is the least efficient heat conductor. Iron, bismuth, and mercury are likewise poor conductors.

  • Metals have a high density and are therefore heavy. The densities of iridium and osmium are the highest, whereas lithium has the lowest density.

  • Boiling and melting points: Metals have high melting and boiling points. The melting and boiling points of tungsten are the highest, whereas mercury is the lowest. The melting points of sodium and potassium are also low.

Physical Properties of NonMetals 

  • At ambient temperature, the majority of non-metals exist in two of the three states of matter: gases (oxygen) and solids (carbon). At room temperature, bromine exists as a liquid.

  • Non-malleable and ductile materials are brittle and can't be rolled into wires or pounded into sheets.

  • Conduction: They are poor heat and electrical conductors.

  • There is no metallic shine to these, and they do not reflect light.

  • Non-metals melting and boiling points are generally lower than metals', but they are highly varied.

  • Non metals examples- H2(g), N2(g), O2(g), F2(g), Cl2(g), Br2(l), I2(s) are the seven non-metals that exist as diatomic molecules under normal conditions.

Difference Between Metals and Non-Metals 



Metals are ductile and malleable.

Brittleness is a property of non-metals (break easily). They aren't malleable or ductile.

Metals are good conductors of electricity and heat.

Non-metals are poor heat and electrical conductors. Graphite, on the other hand, is a good conductor of electricity.

Metals are lustrous in nature.

Non-metals have a dull appearance and cannot be polished. With the exception of iodine.

At room temperature, metals are solids. Mercury, on the other hand, is a liquid metal

At room temperature, non-metals might be solids, liquids, or gases.

Metals are tough and durable

Non-metals are weak and brittle.

The Difference Between Metals and Non-Metals Based on Chemical Properties is Tabulated Below.



Basic oxides are formed by metals

Nonmetals form acidic or neutral oxides.

Hydrogen is displaced from water by metals (or steam).

Non-metals do not react with hydrogen. 

Metals displace hydrogen from dilute acids.

Non-metals do not react with dilute acids

Ionic chlorides are formed when metals react with chlorine.

When non-metals come into contact with chlorine, they form covalent chlorides.

Metals usually do not combine with hydrogen.

Only some reactive metals combine with hydrogen to form ionic metal hydrides.

Non- metals react with hydrogen to form covalent hydrides that are stable in nature.

Did You Know?

  • The most abundant metal on the earth is iron, and it also makes up a significant portion of the planet's core. 

  • Aluminum is the most common metal found in the Earth's crust.

  • Silver is the best conductor of electricity of all metals.

  • In damp air, noble metals such as silver, gold, and platinum resist oxidation and corrosion.

  • Alloys are made up of two or more elements, typically two metals or a metal and a non-metal.


Metals and nonmetals are two distinct types of materials that we come across in our everyday life. In periodic table metals are found in the left side of the periodic table from group 1st to 2nd and nonmetals are found in the right side of the periodic table from group 13 to 18. Metals are lustrous, solid, malleable, sonorous, high melting point while non metals possess its opposite property.

FAQs on What are Metals and Non-Metals?

1. What is liquid non-metal?

One non-metal, bromine, is a liquid at room temperature.

2. What is the difference between metal and non-metal?

Non-metals are poor heat and electrical conductors. Graphite, on the other hand, is a good conductor of electricity. Metals are lustrous. At room temperature, metals are solids.

3. What is a Metal?

Metals are elements that readily produce positive ions (cations) and have metallic connections in chemistry. The majority of the elements on this line are metalloids, often known as semimetals; those on the bottom left are metals, while those on the upper right are nonmetals.