Materials: Metals and Non-metals

Introduction to Metals and Non-metals

The materials present around us are grouped widely into metals and non-metals. But can you say by their properties which material is metal and which is a non-metal? Is wood a metal? or Iron a non-metal? Let us learn this topic in detail.

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Metals are materials holding or possessing the characteristics of being shiny, hard, fusible, malleable, ductile, etc. Few examples of metals (materials)  are – Gold, Silver, Aluminium, Copper, Iron, etc. 

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Physical Material Properties of Metals

The physical properties of metals are: 


The property of metals which in the pure state usually shines. The shine on the metallic surface is the metallic luster. They shine in light due to the reason that the metals possess free electrons that vibrates on getting in contact with light. 


Malleability refers to the property of metals by which they can be beaten into thin sheets. One such example is silver metal beaten to make silver foil used for decorating sweets.


Ductility refers to the properties of metals by virtue of which they can be drawn into thin wires. One example of ductility is copper and iron which can be drawn in to thin wires.


The metals are a good conductor of heat and electricity as they can pass through them. They are good conductors of heat and electricity. The best conductors of electricity are silver and copper, however, lead and mercury are poor conductors of electricity. They also have a high melting point except Caesium and Galium have the very low melting point.


On being struck hard, the metals produce a ringing sound. Due to this property, they sonorous. For example – the school bell produces a loud ringing sound when stuck with the hammer hard.  Some examples are – Iron, Gold, Copper, Aluminium, Magnesium, and many more.


Except for Mercury, all the metals are solid. Mercury is in the liquid state at room temperature. The exceptional metals are Sodium ( Na), Potassium ( K ) and Mercury. The metals like Sodium ( Na) and Potassium ( K ) are easily cut with the help of a knife. Other examples of metals are iron, copper, silver, aluminum, calcium, gold etc. 


Uses of Metals

The many uses of Metals are: 

  • Metals are used for various purposes, from making wires and sheets. For example – Copper and aluminum wires in electrical equipment’s, especially for conduction of electricity.
  • Metals are also used in making automobiles, machinery, water boilers, industrial gadgets, etc.
  • The metals are used in making utensils and water boilers due to its property of being a good conductor of heat.

Non Metals

Non – metals are materials not holding the characteristics of metals, means they are not shiny, hard, fusible, malleable, ductile, etc. Many materials like coal and Sulphur are very soft and dull in appearance. They break down into very fine thin powdery mass on tapping with the hammer. They are neither in – sonorous and also are a very poor conductor of heat and electricity.  Few examples of non – metals are carbon, oxygen, Sulphur, etc.

You can download Materials: Metals and Non-metals Cheat Sheet by clicking on the download button below

Introduction to Metals and Non-metals

Physical Material Properties of Non Metals

The physical properties of non – metals are :

  •  The solid non-metals are brittle or dull and soft as they can be broken down into a powdery substance or mass on tapping down with the hammer. Few examples are Coal and Sulphur. However, Diamond is an exception as it is the hardest non-metal.
  •  Non – metals may be either solids, liquids, or gases.
  •  Non-metals are poor conductors of heat and electricity except Graphite.
  •  They do not possess metallic luster.
  •  Non-metals are not sonorous, they do not produce a ringing sound.
  •  Non-metals possess no malleability.
  •  They are not ductile.
  •  They have dull luster, however, iodine is lustrous.
  •  Some example of non – metals are carbon, oxygen, Sulphur, phosphorous, and many more.

Uses of Non Metals

  • Many non-metals like chlorine, Sulphur, iodine are very useful for medicinal purposes.
  • Non-metal like oxygen is very essential for our life for respiration.
  • We use nitrogen phosphorus in fertilizers for better plant growth and enhance the fertility of the soil.
  • Non-metal like Sulphur is useful in crackers.
  • Chlorine and Fluorine are useful for the water purification purpose.

Solved Question For You

Q. Non-metal oxides when react with water forms ________.

  1. Bases
  2. Acids
  3. Neutral Compounds
  4. None of the above.

Solution: B. Metal Oxides forms bases and non-metal oxides form acids when they react with water. Metal oxides when they react with water produces bases.

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4 responses to “Introduction to Metals and Non-metals”

  1. Chanvi Verma says:

    Well done

  2. niy says:

    are you sure sodium is non-lustrous?

  3. Varshini says:

    I was having a lot of problem in science…. That I was not understanding concepts……. This information was very useful for me….. Thank u♥♡ For information….. Really very very useful

  4. AAttiikkaa says:

    amazing site helped me alot in in school projects
    so I just wanted to riply
    keep it up!

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