Metals and non-metals are two objects or things with opposite properties.
It is easy to distinguish between a metal and a non-metal, even by seeing or looking at certain objects.
I am sure you have seen copper, an example of metal, whereas non-metals are phosphorous, sulphur, and other elements.
One thing that we all have studied in our junior classes is that metals are good conductors of heat and electricity. In contrast, non-metals are bad conductors of heat and electricity.
This is true because you see that copper wires are used for transferring electricity and not other non-metallic elements.
- Metals are shiny, solid, and good conductors of heat and electricity, whereas non-metals are dull, brittle, and poor conductors.
- Metals lose electrons to form positively charged ions, while non-metals gain electrons to form negatively charged ions.
- Metals are denser and have higher melting and boiling points than non-metals, gases or low melting and boiling points.
Metals vs Non-Metals
Metals are solid, shiny, and good conductors of heat and electricity. They tend to be malleable and ductile and have a high melting point. Non-metals, on the other hand, are not shiny and are poor conductors. They tend to have lower melting and boiling points and may exist in various states of matter.
One can easily differentiate between metals and non-metals by their uses, too, because their properties make them have different kinds of usage for different purposes.
|Parameters of Comparison||Metals||Non-Metals|
|Conductors of Heat and Electricity||Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity.||Non-metals, on the other hand, are bad conductors of heat and electricity.|
|Malleable||Metals are malleable, which means metals can be shaped or beaten into sheets.||Non-metals, on the other hand, are non-malleable. That is they cannot be beaten into sheets.|
|Ductile||Metals are ductile because they can be made into wires for various uses.||Non-metals are not ductile.|
|Strength||Metals have high strength.||Non-metals do not have much strength.|
|Density||The density is high for metals.||In the case of non-metals, the density is low.|
|Melting Point||Metals have a high melting point.||Non-metals have low melting points, unlike metals.|
What are Metals?
Metals are hard elements that are good conductors of heat and electricity.
Whenever we hear the word metal, we think of a hard substance, and yes, it is true because metals are hard substances, unlike non-metals which are not that hard or strong.
We had come across the term ‘metal’, especially in our chemistry class when we studied the Periodic Table.
These metallic elements have certain properties that make them different from non-metallic elements.
Some examples of metallic elements are aluminium and copper, which are both used in several industries today. Due to their various properties and uses, they are in great demand today.
Some properties of metals are that they are shiny and look polished with high density, unlike non-metals with low density.
Metals are ductile, too, meaning that metals can be transformed into wires by some processes and used as electrical wires.
Well, these all were the physical properties of metals. When you look at the chemical properties of metals, then they are easily corrodible and are good reducing agents.
Another interesting fact about metals is that when it is kept at room temperature, they are in their solid state, with the only exception of Mercury which is a liquid metal.
You see, metals make cooking utensils like pressure cookers and other kinds of stuff. Well, this is because they are good conductors of heat, which is why they are used for cooking.
Non-metallic kinds of stuff cannot be used for cooking because they are not good conductors of heat.
What are Non-Metals?
Non-metals, on the other hand, are just the opposite of metals, where they are bad conductors of heat and electricity. Non-metals like carbon, sulphur, hydrogen, and oxygen are less strong than metals.
Non-metals can be in the liquid state or their gaseous state.
Taking the example of oxygen, they are useful for the survival of human beings, but oxygen also supports burning. So, one way or the other, both non-metals and metals are useful for humankind.
When you see the Periodic Table, only a few non-metallic elements are in the chart, and many metals are present.
Talking about the physical properties of non-metals, they are opposed to that of metals because non-metals are not good conductors of heat or electricity.
They are also not ductile or malleable and cannot be used for several purposes.
The elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon are some of the most useful elements that fall under non-metals.
Oxygen is useful for the survival of all living things and supports burning. Carbon, on the other hand, is useful for plants and trees.
Main Difference Between Metals and Non-Metals
- Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity, whereas non-metals are bad conductors of heat and electricity.
- Metals are ductile, meaning they can be made into wires for various uses, whereas non-metals are not.
- Metals are shiny, and they are much more polished than non-metals.
- Metals are electropositive, whereas non-metals are electronegative.
- Metals have a higher density as compared to non-metals.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.