Materials: Metals and Non-metals

Physical Properties of Metals and Nonmetals

We associate metals with hard shiny objects, and nonmetals with dull, light objects. These are nothing but the physical properties of metals and nonmetals.  We all know how useful metals and nonmetals are but do we know about their properties? Let’s find out about the physical properties of metals and nonmetals.

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Physical Properties of Metals


The following are the physical properties of metal :

  • The physical properties make them useful for many purposes. For e.g. Copper is used in making electric wires, gold is used to make jewellery, stainless steel is used to make pots, pans, etc
  • Metals react with nonmetals to form ionic bonds. For e.g. Sodium Chloride (NaCl)
  • Metals are a good conductor of electricity which means that they can conduct electricity due to the free moving electrons present in them. Copper is used as wiring as it is a good conductor of electricity.
  • Metals have high melting points and high boiling points as they have strong metallic bonds.
  • All metals are physically lustrous. They have a lustre that makes them shine. Gold is used for making jewellery.
  • Metals are hard, they can’t be broken easily and require a lot of energy and strength to break.  Iron is used to make cars, buildings, ships, etc.
  • Metals weigh a lot as they have a high density. Metals are heavy for their size.
  • They don’t have flexibility and have tensile strength. Metals can’t be stretched.
  • Metals are great conductors of heat. That’s why pots, pans, vessels are made of metals.

Download Physical Properties of Metals and Nonmetals Cheat Sheet PDF

Some More Properties

  • They are good conductors of sound. They are sonorous.
  • Metals are ductile which means that they can be used to make thin wires.
  • They are malleable which means that they can be pounded into thin sheets.
  • Metals are usually solid at room temperature. However, there is an exception i.e. Mercury which is usually in liquid form.
  • There are a few metals that have low density, soft, and have low melting and boiling points. These metals are alkali and alkaline earth metals, they are also highly reactive, and are rarely encountered in their elemental, metallic form.
  • Some metals like sodium are so soft that they can be cut with a knife.
  • Three magnetic metals are iron, nickel and cobalt. Steel is also magnetic but it is an alloy which contains iron.
  • Metals tend to gain valence electrons.
  • Also, metals have low electronegativity.
  • Metals usually have one to three electrons in their outer shell.

Learn more about Alkali Metals here.

Browse more Topics Under Metals And Nonmetals

Physical Properties of Nonmetals

The following are the properties of Nonmetals :

  • Nonmetals have high ionization energies.
  • They have high electronegativities.
  • Nonmetals are insulators which means that they’re poor conductors of electricity.
  • They are dull, they do not have lustre like metals.
  • Nonmetals are poor conductors of heat. They’re poor thermal conductors.
  • They are very weak and brittle. They tend to easily break or shatter.
  • Nonmetals have a low density. They’re light for their size.
  • They aren’t good conductors of sound and do not make sounds when they are hit.
  • They tend to gain electrons easily.
  • Nonmetals maybe solid, liquids or gaseous.
  • Nonmetals form acidic oxides.
  • They’re good oxidizing agents.
  • Generally, Nonmetals have four to eight electrons in the outer shell.

Solved example for You

Q: Which of the following metal is in liquid form even at room temperature?

  1. Zinc
  2. Mercury
  3. Silver
  4. Copper

Ans: The correct answer is option ‘b’.  Mercury is the only metal that can be in liquid form at room temperature.

Q. What are the Properties of Alkali Metals?

Learn about Group 14 Elements to find the answer.

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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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