What are Metalloids?

Definition of Metalloids

Metalloids are a small group of elements founds in the periodic table of elements along the zigzag line that distinguishes metals from non-metals and is drawn from between boron and aluminium to the border polonium and astatine.


Which Elements Are Metalloids?

Following are the elements that are considered to be metalloids:

  • Boron (B)
  • Silicon (Si)
  • Germanium (Ge)
  • Arsenic (As)
  • Antimony (Sb)
  • Tellurium (Te)
  • Polonium (Po)

These seven elements were classified as metalloids in the periodic table from the 13th to the 16th group.

It was supposed to classify Astatine as either a non-metal or metalloid. The formation of metals has also been expected.

Properties of Metalloids

Metalloids have properties that are intermediate between metals and non-metals. They have properties that are difficult to characterize.

Physical Properties of Metalloids

State of matter Solid
Lustre Metallic lustre
Elasticity Brittle
Conductivity Semi-conductive in nature

Chemical Properties of Metalloids

Oxidation They are capable of forming glasses.
Alloys When mixed with metals, they form alloys.
Allotropic Metallic and non-metallic allotropes are formed.
Melting Few metalloids contract when they are melted.
Compounds Compounds are formed when they react with halogens.

Common Properties of Metalloids

  • Metalloids are good semiconductors.
  • The reactivity of metalloids is dependent on the properties of the elements they are reacting with.
  • Electronegativity and ionization energy are between metals and non-metals.

Uses of Metalloids

Boron (B)

  • Boron is used in fireworks as it has the quality of changing colour into green when it is burnt. It is one of the most explosive metalloids.
  • It is used in the form of boric acid and can be used as a cleaning agent.
  • Boron, when used in small amounts, can act as a semi-natural pest controlling agent.

Silicon (Si)

  • Silicon finds application in the computer chips as it is a semiconductor.
  • Silicon in silicones can be used as a waterproof sealant on roofs, around water pipes.

Germanium (Ge)

  • Germanium is used in semiconductor industries to improve conductive properties.
  • Fluorescent lamps and infrared detectors use germanium.

Arsenic (As)

  • When arsenic is mixed with gallium, it can be used as a semiconductor and finds application in LEDs.
  • It is so toxic that arsenic can be used as an insecticide and in the preservation of wood.
  • Lead alloys that are used in the manufacturing of bullets used arsenic.

Antimony (Sb)

  • Antimony is used as one of the ingredients in paints and ceramic enamels.
  • In ancient times, Egyptians used antimony as a cosmetic.

Tellurium (Te)

  • It is used as an additive in the creation of alloys.
  • It is used in the making of cast iron and ceramics to prevent thermal shocks.

Polonium (Po)

Polonium has no use as it is the rarest element and is highly radioactive and toxic in nature.

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