What are the differences between metals and non-metals?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Metals and non-metals are elements, apart from noble gases, that are generally presented in the periodic table of elements. There are a number of differences between the two classes. At the atomic level, metals have lesser number if valence electrons and find it much easier to donate electrons. Non-metals, on the other hand, have many more valence electrons and find it much easier to accept electrons. Metals are solid at room temperature (except mercury), while non-metals can be solid, liquid or gas at room temperature. Metals and non-metals can also be differentiated on the basis of malleability and ductility. Metals exhibit both, along with electrical conductivity; all these properties are absent from non-metals. Metals are shiny in appearance, whereas non-metals generally have a dull appearance.

Hope this helps.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial