Q:

What is the difference between metals and nonmetals?

A:

Quick Answer

The major defining feature of metals is that electrons flow relatively freely between atoms in any object composed of two or more metal atoms, whereas electrons around nonmetals are more tightly bound to their respective nuclei or within individual chemical bonds. This results in other significant features of metal, particularly their high thermal and electrical conductivity. A large majority of known elements are metals.

Know More

Full Answer

Metals have several other common features that distinguish them from nonmetals, but few are universal. Almost all metals are solid at room temperature, but a large number of nonmetals are gaseous. Pure metals tend to have a shine or luster, but nonmetals tend to be dull in appearance. They tend to have relatively high densities. They also tend to be malleable and ductile, which means that they can be hammered and drawn into wires. However, solid nonmetals tend to be hard and brittle.

Metals lose electrons easily, and they often corrode easily. The oxides of metals tend to be basic, but the oxides of nonmetals tend to be acidic. Unlike electricity and heat, nonmetals conduct light better than metals, and thin sheets of metal are usually opaque while thin sheets of nonmetals are usually translucent or even transparent.

Learn more about Chemistry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What distinguishes a metal from a nonmetal?

    A:

    In general, metals, unlike nonmetals, are good conductors of heat and electricity, malleable, ductile, and almost always solid at room temperature. Metals very often have only between one and three electrons in their outer valence shells, while nonmetals typically have between four and eight. Metals tend to have a metallic lustre and are opaque as thin sheets, while nonmetallic solids tend to have dull surfaces and are transparent.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are metals shiny?

    A:

    Metals are shiny because metals contain free electrons that vibrate when they come in contact with light. When the electrons vibrate, they produce their own light. This is reflected back and is what creates the shiny, lustrous appearance of metal.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are metals better conductors than nonmetals?

    A:

    Metals conduct electricity and heat better than nonmetals because their electrons can move more easily and thereby transfer energy. Also, metals have a more solid crystalline structure with less space between the electrons. Heat and electricity are both forms of energy that travel via direct conduction.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What properties distinguish metals from nonmetals?

    A:

    Metals have several properties that set them apart from nonmetals, such as conductivity, malleability and ductility. They also have a distinctive physical appearance and energy state at room temperature. Metals are located primarily on the left side of the periodic table.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore