Q:

What is the difference between metals and nonmetals?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Metals have several other common features that distinguish them from nonmetals, but few are universal. Almost all metals are solid at room temperature, but a large number of nonmetals are gaseous. Pure metals tend to have a shine or luster, but nonmetals tend to be dull in appearance. They tend to have relatively high densities. They also tend to be malleable and ductile, which means that they can be hammered and drawn into wires. However, solid nonmetals tend to be hard and brittle.

Metals lose electrons easily, and they often corrode easily. The oxides of metals tend to be basic, but the oxides of nonmetals tend to be acidic. Unlike electricity and heat, nonmetals conduct light better than metals, and thin sheets of metal are usually opaque while thin sheets of nonmetals are usually translucent or even transparent.

Learn more about Chemistry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What happens during a chemical change?

    A:

    Alterations to the electron-based ionic or covalent bonds between ions or atoms happen during a chemical change. Such changes result in one or more new substances with different physical and chemical properties. This type of change stands in contrast to physical changes which, despite sometimes closely resembling chemical changes, only produce a change in physical properties.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are some metals more reactive than others?

    A:

    A metal atom's aptitude to lose electrons to other atoms causes it to be more reactive. Involved in the scientifically determined aptitude is the speed at which a metal atom can lose electrons, as well as the substances with which the atom is likely to react.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are metalloids?

    A:

    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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What reacts with hydrogen peroxide?

    A:

    Hydrogen peroxide can act as an oxidizing or reducing agent at different pH values, enabling its reaction with both metals and nonmetals, such as iron and fluorine respectively. Hydrogen peroxide is highly oxidizing in acidic solutions, outranking halogens and halogen compounds, such as fluorine and chlorine dioxide, in oxidation potential.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore