Properties of elements distinguish them into metals and nonmetals. Such as metals are those elements which are malleable, ductile, sonorous and good conductors of heat and electricity. While nonmetals are those elements which are not malleable, ductile, sonorous and are poor conductors of heat and electricity. In this article we will discuss properties of metals and nonmetals and the difference between two on the basis of their properties (with exceptions) in detail.
Chlorine, carbon, bromine, sulfur, phosphorous etc. are nonmetals. They show following properties –
Nonmetals cannot be hammered into thin sheets. It means they don’t possess the property of malleability. Instead they are brittle as they break down into pieces on hammering.
Nonmetals are not ductile. They cannot be drawn into wires.
Nonmetals are a poor conductor of heat and electricity.
Nonmetals are not lustrous which means they are not shiny. Instead dull in appearance.
Nonmetals have low tensile strength. It means they cannot hold heavy weights.
Nonmetals are not sonorous. It means when we strike them, they do not make any sound.
Nonmetals are soft. It means they can be cut by knife easily.
Reaction With Oxygen – Nonmetals react with oxygen and form nonmetallic oxides which are acidic in nature.
Nonmetal + Oxygen 🡪 Nonmetal oxide
Nonmetal oxide + water 🡪 Acid
Example – Sulfur is a nonmetal and when it reacts with oxygen, it forms sulfur dioxide. When we dissolve sulfur dioxide in water, it gives sulfurous acid. Reactions are given below –
S + O2 🡪 SO2
SO2 + H2O 🡪 H2SO3
Aqueous solution of nonmetal oxide turns blue litmus paper into red.
Nonmetals generally do not react with water.
Nonmetals do not react with dilute acids although they can react with concentrated acids.
Example – C + conc. 4HNO3 🡪 CO2 + 4NO2 + 2H2O
Nonmetals react with strong bases but do not produce hydrogen gas. These reactions generally take place at high temperatures.
Example – 4S + 8NaOH 🡪 Na2SO4 + 3Na2S + 4H2O (At >600 ℃)
A more reactive nonmetal displaces a less reactive nonmetal from its salt solution.
Example – Bromine is more reactive than iodine. So, it displaces iodine in potassium iodide compounds. Reaction is given below –
2KI + Br2 🡪 2KBr + I2
Gold, aluminium, iron and magnesium etc. are metals. They show following properties –
Metals can be hammered into thin sheets. It means they possess the property of malleability.
Metals are ductile. They can be drawn into wires.
Metals are a good conductor of heat and electricity.
Metals are lustrous which means they have a shiny appearance.
Metals have high tensile strength. It means they can hold heavy weights.
Metals are sonorous. It means when we strike them, they make a ringing sound.
Metals are hard. It means they cannot be cut easily.
Reaction With Oxygen – Metals react with oxygen and form metallic oxides which are basic in nature.
Metal + Oxygen 🡪 Metal oxide
Metal oxide + water 🡪 Base
Example –Magnesium is a metal and when it reacts with oxygen, it forms magnesium oxide. When we dissolve magnesium oxide in water, it gives magnesium hydroxide. Reactions are given below –
2Mg + O2 🡪 2MgO
MgO + H2O 🡪 Mg(OH)2
Aqueous solution of metal oxide turns red litmus paper into blue.
Reaction with water - Metals react with water. When a metal reacts with water, metal hydroxide and hydrogen gas is formed.
Metal + Water 🡪 Metal hydroxide + hydrogen
Example – Sodium metal reacts with water and forms sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. Reaction is given below –
Na + H2O 🡪 NaOH + H2
Reaction With Acid - Metals react with acids and form salt and hydrogen gas. Some metals vigorously react with acids.
Metal + Acid 🡪 Metal salt + hydrogen
Example – Magnesium metal reacts with hydrochloric acid and forms magnesium chloride and hydrogen. Reaction is given below –
Mg + 2HCl 🡪 MgCl2 + H2
Reaction With Base - Metals react with bases such as sodium hydroxide and form salt and hydrogen gas.
Metal + Base 🡪 Metal salt + hydrogen
Example – Aluminium metal reacts with Sodium hydroxide and forms sodium aluminate and hydrogen gas. Reaction is given below –
Al + NaOH 🡪 NaAlO2 + H2
Displacement Reaction - A more reactive metal displaces a less reactive metal from its salt solution. These types of reactions are called displacement reactions.
Example – Iron is more reactive than copper. So, it displaces copper from its salt. Reaction is given below –
CuSO4 + Fe 🡪 FeSO4 + Cu
We are differentiating metals and nonmetals through their physical and chemical properties. Here, we are providing the difference between metal and nonmetal in tabular manner with exceptions for your better understanding –
This ends our coverage on the topic “Properties of Metals and Nonmetals”. We hope you enjoyed learning and were able to grasp the concepts. We hope after reading this article you will be able to solve problems based on the topic. If you are looking for solutions of NCERT Textbook problems based on this topic, then log on to Vedantu website or download Vedantu Learning App. By doing so, you will be able to access free PDFs of NCERT Solutions as well as Revision notes, Mock Tests and much more.