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What are metalloids?

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Quick Answer

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.

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Chemical elements can be classified as either metal or nonmetal, depending on the various physical and chemical properties they possess. Metalloids such as boron, silicon and arsenic possess mixed properties that make them harder to characterize. While there is no rigorous definition for the term, chemical elements that form amphoteric oxides or that possess semiconductor properties are often considered metalloids.

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