The nonmetal elements occupy the upper right-hand corner of the periodic table. Nonmetals include the nonmetal group, the halogens, and the noble gases. These elements have similar chemical properties to each other that distinguish them from the elements that are considered metals.
Groups of Nonmetals
The nonmetal element group is a subset of the nonmetals. The nonmetal element group consists of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulfur and selenium. Hydrogen acts as a nonmetal at normal temperatures and pressure and is generally accepted to be part of the nonmetal group.
The halogens are nonmetals in group 7 of the periodic table. Atoms of these elements have the -1 oxidation state. The elements at the top of the group are gases, but they become liquids and solids moving down the group. The halogens are fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine. The properties of tennessine are not well-known. Tennessine might be a halogen or it might be a metalloid.
The noble gases are relatively nonreactive gases found in group 8 (the last column) of the period table. The noble gases are helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, radon, and oganesson. It’s likely oganesson is not a gas at room temperature.
List of Nonmetals
This is a list of the nonmetal elements in order of increasing atomic number.
Properties of Nonmetals
Properties of nonmetals include:
- dull, not shiny
- poor conductor of heat
- poor conductor of electricity
- high ionization energies
- high electronegativity
- not malleable or ductile, usually brittle
- lower density (when compared to metals)
- lower melting point and boiling points (when compared to metals)
- gain electrons in reactions (have a negative oxidation state)
- often colorful in solid state
List of Nonmetal Uses
Unlike the metals, the nonmetals do not have universal applications. But, they do appear together in certain applications:
- Essential for life (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, chlorine, phosphorus)
- Fertilizers (hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, selenium)
- Refrigerants and cryogenics (hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, fluorine, neon)
- Industrial acids (carbon, nitrogen, fluorine, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine)
- Lasers and lamps
- Medicine and pharmaceuticals
Nonmetals form many compounds. In fact, most compounds you encounter contain nonmetals. They occur in water, food, fabrics, plastics, and other everyday items.
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- Bettelheim, F.A.; Brown, W.H.; Campbell, M.K.; Farrell, S.O.; Torres, O.J. (2016). Introduction to General, Organic, and Biochemistry (11th ed.). Cengage Learning: Boston. ISBN 978-1-285-86975-9.
- Emsley, J. (1971). The Inorganic Chemistry of the Non-Metals. Methuen Educational: London. ISBN 0423861204.
- Steudel, R. (1977). Chemistry of the Non-Metals: With an Introduction to Atomic Structure and Chemical Bonding. English edition by F.C. Nachod & J.J. Zuckerman. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3110048825.