Difference Wiki

Metals vs. Metalloids: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 11, 2023
Metals are elements with high electrical conductivity, malleability, and ductility, while metalloids possess intermediate properties of metals and nonmetals, exhibiting mixed conductivity and appearance.

Key Differences

Metals, forming the majority of the periodic table, and metalloids, scattered sparingly amidst them, exhibit contrasting characteristics despite their adjacency on the periodic chart. Metals commonly boast properties such as high conductivity, malleability, and shininess, while metalloids tend to straddle the line, showcasing a mix of metallic and nonmetallic characteristics. Although metalloids might share some visual aspects with metals, their physical and chemical divergences are rather notable.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023
Metals, in a generalized sense, are identified for their capacity to conduct electricity and heat with remarkable proficiency, while metalloids navigate a middle ground in this regard. Metalloids might conduct electricity, but not as efficiently as metals, often being semiconductors, pivotal in the electronics industry. Metals are generally ductile and malleable, while metalloids don’t always exhibit these traits, frequently bristling against the easy categorization that metals might slide into.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023
In an electrochemical context, metals and metalloids do not stand on identical grounds. Metals tend to lose electrons, becoming cations, while metalloids might either lose or gain electrons, thus showcasing their ambivalent nature that metals do not characteristically demonstrate. The chemical behavior of metals is typically predictable, while metalloids defy expectation, moving in a direction that strays from the streamlined path of metals.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023
Metals, solid, robust, and often dense, contrast against metalloids which might present a divergent physical appearance. Whereas metals mirror each other with their shiny, often silver-gray appearance, metalloids might vary in color and lack the uniform luster that is quintessentially metallic. Metalloids, sitting on the fence between metals and nonmetals, tease aspects from both categories, forming a unique classification that metals do not embody.
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023
While metals and metalloids may neighbor each other on the periodic table, their applications in industries and sciences diverge with noticeable significance. Metals find ubiquitous application in construction, transportation, and utensils owing to their strength and durability, while metalloids often find a niche in the technological and electronic sectors, leveraging their semiconductor properties which metals cannot inherently offer. Both critical to varying industries, metals and metalloids delineate their importance through their disparate properties and applications.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Comparison Chart

Electrical Conductivity

High and efficient
Moderate, semi-conductive
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Appearance

Generally shiny and lustrous
Can be shiny or dull
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Malleability and Ductility

Often malleable and ductile
Less malleable and ductile
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Electron Movement

Tend to lose electrons
Can either gain or lose electrons
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Common Applications

Construction, utensils
Electronics, semiconductors
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Metals and Metalloids Definitions

Metals

Metals are elements, compounds, or alloys characterized by high electrical conductivity.
Copper and aluminum are metals widely used in electrical wiring.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Metalloids

Metalloids have the capacity to either gain or lose electrons in chemical reactions.
Boron, a metalloid, can form covalent compounds by sharing electrons.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

Metals

Metals generally display notable malleability and ductility, allowing them to be shaped without breaking.
Metals such as lead are highly malleable and can be formed into sheets.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

Metalloids

Metalloids typically act as semiconductors, allowing them to be used in electronic devices.
Germanium, a metalloid, is utilized in transistors and semiconductors due to its electrical properties.
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023

Metals

In a chemical context, metals readily lose electrons to form cations.
When reacting with oxygen, metals like iron lose electrons and corrode.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

Metalloids

Metalloids can appear either lustrous or dull, demonstrating a range in physical appearance.
Arsenic, a metalloid, exhibits a metallic luster, unlike some other metalloids.
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023

Metals

Metals typically exhibit a shiny, lustrous appearance.
The metals like gold and silver have been valued for their luster and rarity.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Metalloids

Metalloids are elements that exhibit properties intermediate between metals and nonmetals.
Silicon, one of the metalloids, is widely used in the semiconductor industry.
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Metals

Metals tend to be solid, (with the exception of mercury,) and often are hard and dense.
Despite being metals, lithium and potassium are soft and can be cut with a knife.
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Metalloids

Metalloids generally have melting points and densities that are higher than nonmetals but lower than metals.
Antimony, a metalloid, has a lower melting point than many metals, making it useful in alloys like pewter.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

Metals

Any of a category of electropositive elements that usually have a shiny surface, are generally good conductors of heat and electricity, and can be melted or fused, hammered into thin sheets, or drawn into wires. Typical metals form salts with nonmetals, basic oxides with oxygen, and alloys with one another.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 31, 2016

Metalloids

A nonmetallic element, such as arsenic, that has some of the chemical properties of a metal. Most metalloids behave as semiconductors.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 31, 2016

Metalloids

A nonmetallic element, such as carbon, that can form an alloy with metals.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 31, 2016

Metalloids

Relating to or having the properties of a metalloid.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 31, 2016

Metalloids

Having the appearance of a metal.
Sumera Saeed
Jan 31, 2016

Metalloids

Plural of metalloid
Sumera Saeed
Jan 31, 2016

FAQs

What is the primary characteristic of metals?

Metals are characterized by their high electrical and thermal conductivity.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Do all metals have a shiny appearance?

Most metals exhibit a shiny, lustrous appearance, although some can tarnish or corrode.
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Why are metals often used in construction?

Metals are used in construction due to their strength, durability, and ability to withstand environmental conditions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Are metalloids good conductors of electricity?

Metalloids are generally semiconductors, meaning they conduct electricity to a degree, but not as efficiently as metals.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 11, 2023

Is iron considered a metal?

Yes, iron is considered a metal, noted for its strength and magnetic properties.
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Are metalloids used in LED technology?

Yes, some metalloids, such as gallium and arsenic (used together as gallium arsenide), are utilized in producing LEDs.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

What characteristic do all metals share?

All metals are good conductors of heat and electricity, demonstrating malleability and ductility.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

What is an example of a metal used in jewelry?

Gold is a metal commonly used in jewelry due to its luster and malleability.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Can metalloids be found in consumer electronics?

Yes, metalloids like silicon and germanium are often used in consumer electronics due to their semiconducting properties.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 11, 2023

Is aluminum a metal or a metalloid?

Aluminum is categorized as a metal, noted for its lightweight and anti-corrosive properties.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

Can metals form cations?

Yes, metals commonly lose electrons and form cations in chemical reactions.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Are metalloids essential in solar technology?

Yes, metalloids like silicon are crucial in solar technology, particularly in the manufacturing of solar cells.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

Is arsenic considered a metalloid?

Yes, arsenic is considered a metalloid, exhibiting both metallic and nonmetallic properties.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

What role do metalloids play in the technology industry?

Metalloids, especially silicon, play a pivotal role in the technology industry, being used to manufacture semiconductors and transistors.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Are metals typically dense?

Generally, metals tend to be dense, though there are exceptions like lithium, which is quite light.
Harlon Moss
Oct 11, 2023

Do metalloids possess characteristics of nonmetals?

Yes, metalloids possess mixed characteristics of both metals and nonmetals, which is why they are often called semi-metals.
Sara Rehman
Oct 11, 2023

Can metalloids form alloys like metals do?

Yes, metalloids can form alloys, and often enhance the properties of metals when they are alloyed together, such as in the case of silicon enhancing the properties of aluminium.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Which metalloid is prevalent in computer chips?

Silicon is a metalloid widely used in making computer chips due to its semiconductor properties.
Janet White
Oct 11, 2023

Do metalloids appear in the periodic table’s metal section?

Metalloids appear in a staircase-like line on the periodic table, separating metals from nonmetals.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023

Are metals typically malleable and ductile?

Yes, metals are typically malleable (can be hammered into thin sheets) and ductile (can be drawn into wires).
Sumera Saeed
Oct 11, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons