The periodic table of elements, one of the first things you are introduced to in chemistry in school, is an organised chart of all known elements. Elements are materials that are made up of a single substance, and in the table fall into three large groups: metals, nonmetals and metalloids. Each of these groups has its own unique set of features distinguishing it from the others.
Metals make up the vast majority of the periodic table -- 88 elements in total -- and have unique features. The most obvious characteristic is that, with the exception of mercury, they are solid at room temperature. They are also relatively dense, susceptible to corrosion, conduct electricity and heat, are ductile (can be made into wires) and malleable (can be made into sheets).
The metals are lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, caesium, francium, beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, radium, aluminium, gallium, indium, tin, thallium, lead, bismuth, scandium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, yttrium, zirconium, niobium, molybdenum, technetium, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, silver, cadmium, lanthanum, hafnium, tantalum, tungsten, rhenium, osmium, iridium, platinum, gold, mercury, actinium, rutherfordium, dubnium, seaborgium, bohrium, hassium, meitnerium, darmstadtium, roentgenium, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, thorium, protactinium, uranium, neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium and lawrencium.
Nonmetals are found on the far right of the periodic table. These elements are either gaseous or solid at room temperature and share no common features with metals. They do not conduct heat or electricity well and have low densities. The solid nonmetals also break easily, and cannot be made in to wires or sheets.
The nonmetals are carbon, phosphorus, selenium, iodine, nitrogen, sulphur, bromine, oxygen, fluorine, chlorine, hydrogen, helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon.
Metalloids fall in between metals and nonmetals in the periodic table, as they share some of the properties of each. They are solids, and can be made in to wires and sheets, but do not conduct electricity and heat as well as metals.
The metalloids are boron, silicon, arsenic, tellurium, astatine, germanium and antimony.
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