Difference between metals and non-metals

It is easy to confuse metals and non-metals, especially if it is the first time we start studying chemistry. To differentiate them we must know the concepts that define them.

metals

This is the name given to all chemical elements characterized by being good conductors of heat and electricity. They are characterized by having a high density and being solid at room temperature with the notable exception of mercury. Being in solution, its salts form electropositive ions. According to materials science, a metal is that material in which there is an overlap between the valence band and the conduction band in its electronic structure.

This is what gives it the ability to conduct heat and electricity, as well as the ability to reflect light. These types of materials react chemically with non-metals. Metals include alkali metals and alkaline earth metals, as well as transition metals. Metals comprise most of the periodic table.

No metals

Nonmetals are chemical elements that are not good conductors of electricity and heat. They are weak and cannot be stretched or made into sheets. Of the 118 known elements, only 25 are nonmetals. They have a very diverse chemistry and are often essential to biological systems.

In the group of non-metals we find the halogens and the noble gases, some are not found in these groups. Hydrogen’s unique properties set it apart from other elements. Nonmetals are the elements on the right in the Periodic Table of Elements.

Differences between metals and non-metals

  • Metals are lustrous elements with low electronegativity and low ionization energy, so they give up electrons and hardly gain them. This property also allows them to be good conductors of electricity and heat.
  • Nonmetals are not shiny and are poor conductors of heat and electricity. It has high electronegativity and ionization energy. They react with metals.

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