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What are metalloids?

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Quick Answer

Metalloids are chemical elements that have properties common with both metals and nonmetals. Some metalloid semiconductors are able to carry an electrical charge under the right conditions, a property that allows them to be used in the production of computers and other electronic devices.

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Full Answer

Chemical elements can be classified as either metal or nonmetal, depending on the various physical and chemical properties they possess. Metalloids such as boron, silicon and arsenic possess mixed properties that make them harder to characterize. While there is no rigorous definition for the term, chemical elements that form amphoteric oxides or that possess semiconductor properties are often considered metalloids.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the most common uses of metalloids?

    A:

    All of the commonly recognized metalloids may function as semiconductors, and several of the metalloids can be utilized in forming glass or in preventing the spread of fires. Other uses of metalloids range from alloy creation to medicinal or pesticide applications.

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  • Q:

    How are metalloids used in our everyday life?

    A:

    Metalloids are used very commonly in solid-state electronics, as components of alloys in metal objects, in glass and in flame- and heat-resistant objects. Metalloids in their pure forms are too brittle to be used in tools or in structural applications.

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  • Q:

    What are the most conductive metals?

    A:

    The list of most conductive metals includes silver, copper and gold. The conductivity standard of metal is based on silver, which is the most conductive of all metals.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between metals and nonmetals?

    A:

    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.

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