If you don’t have any idea about the characteristics of metals and non-metals, it is difficult for you to understand the difference between them. Usually, metals are solid because they are hard, lustrous, and opaque. On the other hand, non-metals can be solids or gasses. In these materials, the metallic properties are absent. Therefore, if we want to differentiate between them, we should know their characteristics. Here, we will discuss the difference between metals and non-metals.
Definition of Metals
Metals are opaque and lustrous elements that can conduct heat and electricity. The metals are ductile and malleable. Moreover, metals are also denser than other elements.
Properties of Metals
There are various physical and chemical properties of the metals. Here, we will discuss the most important physical and chemical properties of the metals.
Physical Properties of Metals
i. The metals are lustrous. It means that metals have shiny nature.
ii. Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity.
iii. The melting points, boiling points, and density of the metals are high.
iv. All the metals are moldable or malleable.
v. They have quality ductility.
vi. Almost all the metals are in solid form at room temperature. Anyhow, Mercury can’t exist in solid form at room temperature.
Chemical Properties of Metals
Along with physical properties, metals have also some chemical properties. Here, we will discuss the chemical properties of the metals.
i. As metals are good conductors of electricity. That’s why they can easily lose electrons.
ii. The metals can also easily corrode.
iii. They have the chemical property to form the basic oxides.
iv. All metals have low electronegativities.
v. They are good reducing agents.
Properties of Non-Metals
They have also some physical properties. Here, we will discuss the most important physical properties.
i. All of them are poor conductors of heat and electricity.
ii. They are also non-ductile.
iii. They are brittle solids.
iv. At room temperature, they can exist in all three forms (Solid, Liquid, and Gas) of matter.
v. They are transparent.
vi. Metals are not sonorous.
i. In their outermost shells, there are 4 to 8 electrons.
ii. They can lose or gain electrons easily.
iii. When they contact with Oxygen, they form acidic oxides.
iv. All of them are high electronegative elements.
v. They are great oxidizing agents.
Definition of Non-Metals
Non-Metals are those elements that don’t have the characteristics of metals. They have low melting and boiling points. These elements are less dense than metals.
Difference between Metals and Non-Metals
There are differences between them. Here, we will discuss the most important differences. You may also like to read about the difference between acids and bases.
1. Difference between Meanings of Metals and Non-Metals
There is a specific difference between their meanings. Metals are such elements that are hard, shiny, and dense. On the other hand, non-metals are soft, non-shiny, and brittle.
2. Difference between the Nature of Metals and Non-Metals
The nature of the metals is electropositive. On the other hand, the nature of other materials is electronegative.
3. Difference between Structures of Metals and Non-Metals
The structure of the metals is crystalline. It means that metals can form a crystal lattice that extends in all directions. On the other hand, the structure of other materials is amorphic. It means that they don’t have any defined shape.
4. Physical state
Most of the metals are solids whereas non-metals can be solid or liquid. It means that metals are solids at room temperature. On the other hand, other materials can be solid or liquid at room temperature.
5. Place in the Periodic Table
There is also a difference between their places in the periodic table. In the periodic table, metals are placed on the left side. On the other hand, non-metals are placed on the right side.
Density means mass per unit area. The density of the metals is very high. On the other hand, the density of the non-metals is very low.
Metals are good conductors of electricity and heat. Therefore, we can say that all the metals are conductors. On the other hand, other materials are not good conductors of electricity and heat. Therefore, we can also say that they are insulators.
8. Melting and boiling points
The melting and boiling points of metals are very high. It means that if we want to melt or boil a metal, we have to provide enough heat to it. On the other hand, other materials have low melting and boiling points. It means that we can easily melt and boil them.
9. Location of the Metals and Non-Metals in the Blocks
Metals are located in s, p, d, and f blocks. On the other hand, non-metals are located in s and p blocks.
10. Ductility and Malleability
Another main difference between them is that metals show ductility and malleability. On the other hand, non-metals don’t show these kinds of properties.
As we know that conducting heat and electricity, there requires free electrons. Metals have 1 to 3 electrons in their outer shell. Therefore, these electrons can easily free themselves. As a result, metals can easily conduct heat and electricity. On the other hand, non-metals have 4 to 8 free electrons. It means that there are no chances of free electrons in them. That’s why they are not good conductors of heat and electricity.
All the metals are opaque. On the other hand, all the non-metals are transparent.
13. Reaction with Oxygen
When we react to them with oxygen, we see different kinds of reactions. After reacting with oxygen, metals form basic oxides. On the other hand, when non-metals react with oxygen, they form acidic oxides.
14. Reaction with Acids
When metals react with acids, it produces Hydrogen gas. On the other hand, we can observe that non-metals don’t react with acids.
15. Examples of Metals and Non-Metals
Some essential examples of metals are Lithium and Barium etc. On the other hand, examples of other materials are iodine and Bromine, etc.
As we know Oxygen is a non-metal. It is essential for our life because we have to inhale it during breathing. Liquid Hydrogen is also a non-metal. We can use this non-metal as fuel. We can use it to start the rocket.