In chemistry, a nonmetal (or non-metal) is a chemical element that mostly lacks metallic attributes. Physically, nonmetals tend to be highly volatile (easily vaporised), have low elasticity, and are good insulators of heat and electricity; chemically, they tend to have high ionization energy and electronegativity values, and gain or share electrons when they react with other elements or compounds. Seventeen elements are generally classified as nonmetals; most are gases (hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, oxygen, fluorine, neon, chlorine, argon, krypton, xenon and radon); one is a liquid (bromine); and a few are solids (carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, selenium, and iodine). Moving rightward across the standard form of periodic table, nonmetals adopt structures that have progressively fewer nearest neighbours. Polyatomic nonmetals have structures with either three nearest neighbours, as is the case (for example) with carbon (in its standard state of graphite), or two nearest neighbours (for example) in the case of sulfur. Diatomic nonmetals, such as hydrogen, have one nearest neighbour, and the monatomic noble gases, such as helium, have none. This gradual fall in the number of nearest neighbours is associated with a reduction in metallic character and an increase in nonmetallic character. The distinction between the three categories of nonmetals, in terms of receding metallicity is not absolute. Boundary overlaps occur as outlying elements in each category show (or begin to show) less-distinct, hybrid-like or atypical properties. Although five times more elements are metals than nonmetals, two of the nonmetals—hydrogen and helium—make up over 99 per cent of the observable Universe, and one—oxygen—makes up close to half of the Earth’s crust, oceans and atmosphere. Living organisms are also composed almost entirely of nonmetals, and nonmetals form many more compounds than metals.
by Travis Brandon | Jul 27, 2021 | Uncategorized