Most elements of the periodic table are metals, some are nonmetals, and a few have properties of both metals and nonmetals, so they are called metalloids. Here are five examples of metals, metalloids, and nonmetals on the periodic table. Also, there are examples of substances that are not elements and a look at the uses of the different element groups.
Examples of Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals
Metals are on the left side of the periodic table, while nonmetals are on the right side of the periodic table. The exception is hydrogen, which acts as a nonmetal under ordinary conditions. Metals include the alkali metals, alkaline earths, transition metals, basic metals, lanthanides, and actinides. Nonmetals include the nonmetal group, halogens, and noble gases. Metalloids follow a zig-zag or step ladder between metals and nonmetals. The identification of elements as metalloids is a judgement call. For example, some authors exclude boron from the group, while others consider carbon to be a metalloid.
More Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals
Compounds and mixtures may also be identified as metals, metalloids, or nonmetals.
But, most compounds contain different types of elements. For example, salts consist of metals bonded to nonmetals.
Properties of Metals and Nonmetals
Metals and nonmetals display characteristic properties, while metalloids have some properties from each group. Metals tend to form cations (positive ions), while nonmetals form anions. Most metals are hard, shiny, solids that conduct heat and electricity. Most nonmetals are soft, colorful, insulators that may be solids, liquids, or gases.
Element names often offer a clue in identifying metals and nonmetals. Most metal names end with the -ium suffix, while nonmetal names often end with -gen, -ine, or -on.
Uses of Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals
The properties of the types of elements helps determine their use.
Metals are used to build structures, for jewelry and coins, and for electrical wiring. Nonmetals are often essential for life. They are used in medicines, fertilizers, and disinfectants. Metalloids find use as semiconductors and alloying agents to moderate the properties of metals.