Metals and Non-metals

By Ajay Anand

Metallic Shine

Metals are lustrous but non-metals are not.

Metals show typical metallic shine.

Non-metals are dull in appearance.


Metal produces a typical sound when hit with something.

Non-metal does not produce such sound.


Metals are malleable.

A metal can be beaten to make thin sheet.

Non-metals are non-malleable.


Metals are ductile.

A metal can be pulled to make wires.

Non-metals are not ductile.


Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity.

Non-metals are bad conductors of heat and electricity.

Physical State

Most of the metals are found as solid at room temperature.

Non-metals are found in all states of matter.

Reaction With Oxygen

Metals react with oxygen to form metallic oxides. Metallic oxides are basic in nature.

Non-metals react with oxygen to make oxides. Oxides of non-metals are acidic in nature.

Reaction With Water

Some metals react vigorously with water, while some others do not react at all with water.

Sodium reacts vigorously with water.

Usually, non-metals do not react with water.

Reaction With Acid

Metals generally react with acids and produce hydrogen gas.

Metal + Acid → Salt + Hydrogen

Non-metals generally do not react with acids.

Reaction With Base

Metals react with sodium hydroxide to produce hydrogen gas.

Metal + Sodium hydroxide → Hydrogen

Non-metals' reaction with sodium hydroxide is much complex.

Displacement Reaction

When a metal displaces another metal from a compound, this is called displacement reaction.

In this reaction, a more reactive metal displaces a less reactive metal from a compound.

Sodium and potassium are at the top of the reactivity series. Gold and silver are at the bottom of reactivity series.

Displacement Reaction


When iron nails are kept in copper sulphate solution, the blue colour of copper sulphate solution disappears and the solution becomes green.

Iron displaces copper to form iron sulphate.

CuSO4 + Fe → FeSO4 + Cu

Uses of Metals

Metals are used for making machines and tools.

Iron is used for making ships, bridges, railway lines, etc.

Copper is used for making electric wires.

Aluminium is used for making utensils.

Gold and silver are used for making ornaments.

Uses of Non-metals

Oxygen is used by all living beings for respiration.

Carbon dioxide is used by plants for photosynthesis.

Chlorine is used for water purification.

Iodine solution is used as antiseptic and applied on wounds.

Coal (carbon) is an important fuel.

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