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Non Metals

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Last updated date: 13th Jul 2024
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What is Non Metal?

Nonmetals are chemical elements that lack the majority of metallic characteristics, ranging from colourless vapours to lustrous and refractory (high melting point) solids. The majority of nonmetals have biological, technological, or domestic applications. The nonmetals hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen make up almost entirely of living beings. The 23 nonmetal elements are among the 118 known elements.

What are Non-Metals?

Non-metals are elements that accept or gain electrons to generate negative ions. They often have 4, 5, 6, or 7 electrons in their outermost shell. Non-metals are materials that lack all of the characteristics of metals. They are excellent heat and electricity insulators. They are usually gases, although they can also be liquids. Carbon, sulphur, and phosphorus, for example, are solid at normal temperatures.

In this article, we will learn about non-metals, properties of nonmetals, periodic table metals and nonmetals.

Properties of Non-metals

  • High ionisation energies and electronegativity are two characteristics of nonmetals. Non-metals frequently gain electrons when reacting with other compounds, forming covalent bonds, because of their features. The anionic dopants have a substantial influence on the VB among the non-metals. Carbon, nitrogen, fluorine, sulphur, and iodine are non-metal dopants.

  • Liquid non metal at room temperature is bromine.

  • Non-metals have the following properties in general.

  • Non-metal atoms are often smaller than metal atoms. The atomic sizes of non-metals determine the number of other properties.

  • Electrical conductivities of non-metals are extremely low. The most important attribute that distinguishes non-metals from metals is their low or non-existent electrical conductivity.

  • Electronegativities are high in non-metals. This indicates that non-metal atoms have a strong desire to keep the electrons they already have. Metals, on the other hand, readily give up one or more electrons to nonmetals, allowing them to form positively charged ions and conduct electricity.

  • Some non-metals are found as gases, others as solids, and one is found as a liquid under normal temperature and pressure.

  • Due to the large number of non-metals that exist as liquids or gases, they have low melting and boiling point under typical atmospheric circumstances.

  • Non-metals have a tendency to be fragile in their solid state. As a result, they lack the malleability and ductility that metals have.

Periodic Table Metals and Non-metals

The periodic table is shown below:


Lustrous Non-metal

Metals with a shiny appearance are referred to as lustrous. Metallic lustre refers to the gleaming appearance of metals.

Examples of Lustrous Non-metal

Metals, such as gold, silver, and copper, have the ability to reflect light from their surfaces and can be polished. Non-lustrous metals, such as lead, are an example. Non-metals have no shine. They don't have a surface that reflects light. Metals have a gleaming aspect, whereas non-metals have a dreary appearance. Diamond and iodine are two dazzling non-metal outliers.

Most Reactive Non-metal

The most reactive nonmetals are found in the periodic table's upper right corner. Fluorine is the nonmetal with the highest reactivity. It does not exist in nature as a free element. Fluorine gas interacts explosively with a variety of other elements and compounds, making it one of the most toxic chemicals known. Fluorine is a toxic univalent gaseous halogen that is pale yellow-green in colour and is the most chemically reactive and electronegative of all elements.

Physical Properties of Nonmetals

Ductility is a quality of the material that will be stretched into wires; however, non-metals are not ductile, with the exception of carbon, which is used in a range of sectors, including sports and music equipment.

The trait of malleability, which is unique to metals, is missing in non-metals. They can't be drawn into sheets since they're brittle and break when pressure is applied.

When they are hit by another material, they do not produce a sonorous sound or a deep ringing sound. Except for graphite, they are poor heat and electricity conductors.

List of Non-Metals (Complete List)


Element Symbol

Number In Periodic Table























































Chemical Properties of Nonmetals

1. Reaction with Water

Non-metals do not react with water, but they are usually quite reactive in air, which is why some are preserved in water. Phosphorus, for example, is a highly reactive non-metal that ignites when exposed to air, which is why it is stored in water to avoid contact with ambient oxygen.

2. Reaction with Acids

There is no evidence that any of the non-metals react with acids.

3. Reaction with Bases

The interaction of non-metals with bases is quite complicated. When chlorine reacts with bases like sodium hydroxide, it produces sodium hypochlorite, sodium chloride, and water.

4. Reaction with Oxygen

When non-metals react with oxygen, they generate oxides. Non-metal oxides are acidic or neutral in nature.

Sulphur dioxide is formed when sulphur combines with oxygen.

S + O2 → SO2

Sulphur dioxide generates sulphurous acid when it combines with water

SO2 + H2O → H2SO3

Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metals

1. What is Ferrous Metal?

The term ferrous comes from the Latin word Ferrum, which means "iron-containing metal composition." Ferrous metals are those that have only trace amounts of iron in their composition. Ferrous metals are magnetic and have high strength and hardness due to their iron content. Their properties, on the other hand, might vary substantially depending on the diversity of alloying elements that make them up. Due to their high carbon content, ferrous metals are susceptible to rust when exposed to moisture.

2. Examples of Ferrous Metals Use:

These metals are strong and long-lasting, and they have a wide range of applications in building and engineering. Ferrous metals can be found in massive buildings like skyscrapers and bridges. Ferrous metals are also found in shipping containers, industrial pipelines, automobiles, railroad tracks, and household items.

3. What is Non-ferrous Metal?

Non-ferrous metals do not contain much iron and are therefore more desirable due to their conductive, non-magnetic, and lightweight qualities. Non-ferrous metals are often more expensive than ferrous metals due to their increased demand.

The malleability of non-ferrous metals is also a distinguishing feature. This implies they can be reshaped and reused multiple times without losing their value. This makes them suitable for a wide range of commercial applications.

4. Examples of Non-ferrous Metals Use:

Copper and bronze have been credited with progressing civilization from the stone age through 1700 BCE when mankind learned to mine copper and tin to produce bronze weapons. Non-ferrous metals are being employed in building, tool manufacturing, electrical cable manufacturing, car engines, pipelines, containers, and even cutlery.


From above we can conclude that non-metals are generally poor conductors of heat and electricity. Depending on the element, non-metals can be solid, liquid, or gas at room temperature. We should note that Bromine is only non-metal which is liquid at room temperature. We have learned about the physical as well chemical properties of nonmetals.

FAQs on Non Metals

1. What are non-metallic materials?

Natural materials that do not produce heat or electricity and are structurally fragile are known as non-metals (can not be easily rolled, moulding, extruding or pressing). The non-metallic elements in the periodic table are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, arsenic, and selenium.

2. What are the uses of Non-Metals?

Following are the uses of non-metals:

  • Nitrogen is utilised in the production of ammonia, nitric acid, and fertilisers.

  • Chlorine is used in the treatment of water.

  • Hydrogen is excellent rocket fuel.

  • When carbon is in graphite form, it can be used to manufacture pencils.

  • Sulphur is used to make sulphuric acid.

3. Which non-metal is used as a fuel?

Liquid hydrogen is the non-metal used in rockets. Separate hydrogen and oxygen tanks mix and burn to ignite the rocket. Hydrogen is used as it has a high calorific value.