Difference Between Metals and Non-Metals (With Table)

Metals and non-metals are two types of objects or things that have properties opposite to each other. 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 and yet that is an example of metal whereas non-metals are phosphorous, sulphur, and other such elements.

One thing that we all have studied in our junior classes that metals are good conductors of heat and electricity whereas 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 vs Non-Metals

The difference between metals and non-metals is that metals are good conductors of heat and electricity whereas non-metals are bad conductors of heat and electricity. Other than that metals have properties like they are shiny, malleable, and ductile whereas non-metals are not shiny, ductile, or malleable.

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 kinds of purposes.  

Comparison Table Between Metals and Non-Metals

Parameters of ComparisonMetalsNon-Metals
Conductors of Heat and ElectricityMetals are good conductors of heat and electricity.Non-metals, on the other hand, are bad conductors of heat and electricity.
MalleableMetals are malleable which means metals can be shaped or beaten into sheets.Non-metals, on the other hand, is non-malleable in nature that is they cannot be beaten into sheets.
DuctileMetals are ductile in nature because they can be made into wires for various uses.Non-metals are not ductile.
StrengthMetals have high strength.Non-metals do not have much strength.
DensityThe density is high for metals.In the case of non-metals the density is low.
Melting PointMetals usually have a high melting point.Non-metals have low melting point unlike, metals.

What are Metals?

Metals are hard elements that are good conductors of heat and electricity. Whenever we hear the word metal then we think of a hard substance and yes it is true because metals are hard substances unlike, non-metals that are not that much hard or strong.

We have come across the term ‘metal’ especially in our chemistry class when we studied the Periodic Table. These metallic elements have got certain properties that make them different from non-metallic elements.

Some of the 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 of great demand in the market today.

Some properties of metals are that they are shiny and look polished with high density unlike, non-metals that have low density. Metals are ductile in nature too which means that metals can be transformed into wires by some processes and can be used as electrical wires.

Well, these all were the physical properties of metals and when you look at the chemical properties of metals then they are easily corrodible in nature and are good reducing agents. Another interesting fact about metals is that when it is kept in room temperature they are in their solid state with the only exception of Mercury that is a liquid metal.

You see metals are used for making cooking utensils like pressure cookers and other kinds of stuff. Well, this is because they are good conductors of heat and that is the reason why they are used for cooking purposes. Non-metallic kinds of stuff cannot be used for cooking purposes 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, oxygen are not as strong as metals. Non-metals can be in the liquid state or their gaseous state.

Taking the example of oxygen then 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 human kind. When you see the Periodic Table then there are only few non-metallic elements in the chart and a vast number of metals are present.

Talking about the physical properties of non-metals then they are opposite to that of metals because non-metals are not good conductors of heat or electricity. They are also not ductile or malleable in nature and therefore they cannot be used as for several purposes.

The elements like hydrogen, oxygen, carbon are some of the most useful elements that fall under the category of non-metals. Oxygen is useful for the survival of all living things and also it supports burning. Carbon, on the other hand, is useful for plants and trees.

Main Difference Between Metals and Non-Metals

  1. Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity whereas non-metals are bad conductors of heat and electricity.
  2. Metals are ductile which means that they can be made into wires for various uses whereas non-metals are not ductile.
  3. Metals are shiny in nature and they are much more polished than non-metals.
  4. Metals are electropositive in nature whereas non-metals are electronegative in nature.
  5. Metals have higher density as compared to non-metals.

Conclusion

Well, it is important to know the difference between metals and non-metals because often questions can be asked to students about their physical properties and after all there is no harm to know about them. If you study and read the Periodic Table then most of your doubts will be clear because then you will be able to distinguish between metals and non-metals easily.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=sl3imKj8258C&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=metals+and+non+metals&ots=85xWUkbbPP&sig=x2u7v9xmjdm8Y62Z-ybgS8O3Oc8
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003267012011798