Chemical properties of Metals

ChemistryMaterials: Metals and Non-metals


At present, there are 118 elements that are known to us and from them, 92 elements occur naturally. The other metals within the total list are prepared with the help of artificial methods. However, elements are classified into several categories, that includes, metals, metalloids and non-metals based on their respective properties and are correlated with respect to their periodic table. There are several physical and chemical properties, that are noticed among metals.

What are metals?

Both metals and non-metals are found within our surroundings and are quite essential in their presence. Metals can be defined as the substances that have unique characteristic properties, such as sonority, solidness, conductivity, malleability, and ductility (Bedassa & Desalegne, 2020).

Some examples of metals include zinc, aluminium, iron, tin, titanium, copper and many more. Generally, it is noticed that metals are good conductors of thermal conductivity and conductivity to electricity. However, following the periodic table, the nature of the metals is acknowledged, as they are placed in a unique way depending upon their properties.

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Figure 1: Origin of ores

Physical and Chemical properties of metals

Physical properties of metals include the state of matter that means at what state they are found in the room temperatures, malleability, and hardness. The density of metals is quite high and their valences remain from 1 to 3 in the outermost shells; they also seem to possess high melting and boiling points (Proshad et al. 2021).

Metals are quite a lustre in nature for example, gold, and copper. On the other hand, the chemical properties of metals include the formation of alloys with both metals and nonmetals. Metals burning in presence of oxygen within air lead to generating metal oxides. Highly reactive metals such as, sodium and potassium are stored in oil as they react at a faster rate in any kind of chemical reaction (Geeksforgeeks, 2022). However, metals also generate metal oxides and hydrogen gas at the time of reacting with water.

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Figure 2: Properties of metals

There occurs production of salt and hydrogen when metals react with acidic elements. However, within the solution of metal salt, the metals tend to displace other metals that are less reactive in nature.

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Figure 3: Properties of metals and non-metals

What are non-metals?

Non-metals are those natural elements that are not capable of generating electricity and heat. The non-metals have structures that are structurally brittle in nature and they cannot be rolled, pressed, module and extruded easily. The non-metals include, hydrogen, arsenic, phosphorous, nitrogen, oxygen, and selenium present within the periodic table.

Reaction with metals

  • Reaction of metal with oxygen

In reacting with oxygen, the metals tend to produce metal oxides, as they tend to donate the lone pairs of electrons to the atom of oxygen while reacting. For example, ${4K+0_2\rightarrow 2K_2O}$ However, it is noticed that oxides of metal are basic in nature and often at times display the amphoteric behaviour (Tutormate, 2022). Amphoteric behaviour results in displaying both the acidic and basic characteristics.

  • Reaction of metal with water

In reacting with water, metals tend to generate metal hydroxides, however, it should be noted that some metals are non-reactive to water. Therefore, the rate of reactivity of water varies from one metal to another. For example, ${Ca+2H_2O\rightarrow Ca(OH)2+H_2}$

  • Reaction with dilute acid

While reacting with dilute acids, metals tend to pop sounds due to the production of hydrogen gas. However, metal salts are also produced while reacting with acids. For example, such reactions are, ${Na+HCl\rightarrow H_2+NaCl\:and\:Zn(s)+2HCl(aq)\rightarrow ZnCl_2(aq)+H_2(g)}$. The metals that are located in the position low to the hydrogen with the series of reactivity tend to react with dilute acids (Chem.libretexts, 2022). However, these metals are quite unable to displace hydrogen and are unable to form a bond with the anion of non-metal.

  • Reaction of metals with other metal salts

It is noted that metals that have high reactivity tend to replace less reactive metals while conducting the reaction. Such example includes, less reactive metals, like, sulphides, and chlorides. For example, such reaction is, ${Zn+CuSO_4\rightarrow ZnSO_4+Cu}$


In this tutorial, the focus has been given to identifying the chemical properties that are noticed within metals. However, the differentiation is made for both metals and non-metals, discussing their innate properties, such as metals showing high conductivity of electricity whereas; non-metals are unable to display such characteristics. On the other, metals tend to have solid structures, whereas, non-metals are brittle in nature. Certain chemical reactions are discussed that will help in a better understanding of the chemical properties possessed by metals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the examples of metals and non-metals?

In the periodic table, there lie many examples for metals as well as non-metals. Examples of metals include, potassium, sodium, iron, thorium, uranium, tungsten, caesium, aluminium, and cadmium zinc and many more. On the other hand, some examples of non-metals include several types of polymers and elastomers such as mica, polycarbonate, garnet, agate, and all kinds of rubbers. The elements such as, fluorine, helium, xenon, and iodine and the elements that are related to this are known as non-metals.

Q2. What are the physical properties noticed for metals present within the periodic table?

Several physical properties '' are there, that are exhibited by metals and with these properties, the metals can be easily distinguished from non-metals. Such properties include, high melting points, ductile nature, malleability, and high density. More to this, metals are good conductors of both heat and electricity.

Q3. What is defined as a melting point?

Melting point is defined as the temperature, when the metals start to melt and display a pure metal. For example, the melting point of aluminium is 660° C, brass is 930° C, and stainless steel is, 1375° to 1530° C and many more.



Bedassa, T., & Desalegne, M. (2020). Assessment of Selected Physico-Chemical Properties and Metals in Qeera Stream Water, Bakkee-Jamaa, Nekemte, Ethiopia. International Journal of New Chemistry, 7(1), 47-59. Retrieved from:

Proshad, R., Zhang, D., Idris, A. M., Islam, M., Kormoker, T., Sarker, M. N. I., ... & Islam, M. (2021). Comprehensive evaluation of chemical properties and toxic metals in the surface water of Louhajang River, Bangladesh. Environmental science and pollution research, 28(35), 49191-49205. Retrieved from:


Chem.libretexts, (2022), Metals and non-metals , Retrieved from: Retrieved from: (Brown_et_al.)/07%3A_Periodic_Properties_of_the_Elements/7.06%3A_Metals_Nonmetals_and_Metalloids [Retrieved on, ${27^{th}}$ June 2022]

Geeksforgeeks, (2022), Chemical properties of metals and non-metals, Retrieved from: [Retrieved on, ${27^{th}}$ June 2022]

Thoughtco, (2022), Chemical properties of matter, Retrieved from: [Retrieved on, ${27^{th}}$ June 2022]

Tutormate, (2022), Chemical properties of metals and non-metals, Retrieved from: [Retrieved on, ${27^{th}}$ June 2022]

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47