Metals, Non-metals and Metalloids

The periodic Table classifies the elements in several ways. You have already learned about the s-, p-, d- and f- block elements. In this article, we will discuss another broad classification of elements – metals and non-metals. The classification is largely based on the chemical properties which are common among the divisions. We will also talk about the third category of elements, called the metalloids.

Table of Contents

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What are Metals?


  • 78% of known elements are metals.
  • They take up the left side of the Periodic Table.
  • At room temperature, they are usually solids (except mercury).
  • They usually have high boiling and melting points.
  • They are shiny having a metallic lustre.
  • They are good conductors of heat and electricity.
  • They are malleable, that is, they can be hammered into thin sheets.
  • They are ductile, that is, they can be drawn into wires.
  • All the metals tend to lose electrons easily.

What are Non-metals?


  • They occupy the right-hand side of the Periodic Table.
  • Most non-metals are brittle and are not malleable or ductile.
  • At room temperature, they are usually solids or gases.
  • They usually have low boiling and melting points (except for carbon and boron).
  • They are poor conductors of heat and electricity.
  • They are usually less dense when compared to metals.
  • They tend to gain electrons during chemical reactions.

What are Metalloids?


  • Metalloids exhibit some properties of metals as well as non-metals. Hence, they are also known as semi-metals.
  • Boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony, and tellurium are the most commonly recognized metalloids.
  • These elements run diagonally across the Periodic Table.
  • They may have a metallic or dull appearance.
  • They are usually brittle and are fair conductors of electricity.
  • They may gain or lose electrons during chemical reactions.
  • They form alloys with metals.
  • They are used as catalysts, biological agents, flame retardants, alloys and semiconductors in industries due to their unique properties

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

1. What are metals non-metals and metalloids?
Ans: Metalloids are metallic-looking brittle solids with either semiconductors or semiconducting materials and amphoteric and weakly acidic oxides. Typical non-metals are black or colourless; they are brittle when solid; are weak heat and electricity conductors, and have acidic oxides. Metals are lustrous, malleable, ductile, and good conductors of heat and electricity.

2. Is copper a metal non-metal or metalloid?
Ans: Copper is a chemical element with the Cu (Latin: cuprum) symbol and the 29th atomic number. It is a very high thermal and electrical conductivity thin, malleable and ductile material. A pure copper freshly exposed layer has a pink-orange colour. So it acts as metal.

3. What are the 3 characteristics of metalloids?
Ans: Typical metalloids appear shiny, but they are brittle and only equal electricity conductors. Chemically, they often behave as non-metals. They can make steel alloys. Some of their other physical and chemical characteristics are in essence intermediate.

4. How do you classify metals and non-metals?
Ans: Metals, non-metals, and metalloids can be classified as elements. Metals are great heat and electricity conductors and are malleable (can be hammered into sheets) and ductile (can be drawn into wire). Typical nonmetals have a dull appearance, relatively low melting points, boiling points, and densities, and are poor conductors of heat and electricity.

5. Can mercury be classified as a metalloid?
Ans: No, mercury can not be classified as a metalloid. Having a valency of 1 or 2, the element known as mercury must be classified as a metal. This is because this element conducts electricity and is also a very good conductor of heat.

There is a lot more there is to understand about metals, non-metals and metalloids with the help of NCERT solutions. BYJU’S brings you NCERT solutions for metals and non-metals. For reference click here – Metals and Non-Metals

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