Everything on Earth is made up of atoms, and the different types of atoms are called elements. The staggered line below separates the metals from the non-metals.
To the left of the staggered red line are the metals (except hydrogen) and to the right of it are the non-metals.
There is a wide range of metals, some of which you will easily recognise, such as copper (Cu) or aluminium (Al). Then there are some elements you may not realise are metals, such as calcium (Ca) or potassium (K). However, all metals have similar properties.
Metals have a special type of bonding called metallic bonding, which gives them specific properties.
When metals react, they lose electrons to form positive ions. The electrons are delocalised. This means that they are not associated with a specific atom or molecule and are free to move throughout a material.
Metals have similar properties, such as:
Non-metals are typically found on the right side of the periodic table. They have properties that differ from those of metals, such as:
Many of the non-metals are gases at room temperature, for example, oxygen (O) and chlorine (Cl). However, there are also some non-metals that are solid at room temperature, such as carbon (C).
All metals have similar properties and in the same way, all non-metals have similar properties. Below is the table comparing some of the general properties of metals and non-metals:
|High Melting points||Low boiling points|
|Good conductor of electricity||Bad conductors of electricity|
|Good conductors of heat||Bad conductors of heat|
|High density||Low density|
|Malleable (you can hammer them into shape)||Brittle|
|Ductile (can be pulled out into wires)|
The metals very close to the line that separates the metals from the non-metals are called metalloids. Metalloids share some properties with both metals and non-metals.
There are also some metals and non-metals with properties that are not typical for their category. For example, graphite, which is a form of carbon, has a high boiling point and is a good conductor of electricity; these are both typical properties of metals.