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The periodic table of the elements with metallic elements colored in green, nonmetallic in orange and metalloids in blue.
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L.Gardiner/Windows to the Universe

Metals, Nonmetals, & Metalloids

The elements in the periodic table on the left are divided into three groups.

The elements in the table that have green squares are called metals. Most elements are metals. They are usually shiny, seem heavy for their size and only melt at very high temperatures. Heat and electricity travel easily through metals, which is why it is not wise to stand next to a flagpole during a thunderstorm!

The elements in the table that have orange squares are called nonmetals. Their surface is dull, not shiny. These elements seem light for their size and will melt at low temperatures.

Some elements in the table have blue squares. They are called metalloids. They are somewhat like metals and somewhat like nonmetals. Some are shiny and others are dull. Heat and electricity can travel through them but not as easily as in metals.


Last modified April 18, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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The Fall 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on rocks and minerals, including articles on minerals and mining, the use of minerals in society, and rare earth minerals, and includes 3 posters!

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