Metals And Nonmetals

The division between metals and nonmetais is not as distinct as we often desire it to be. In general, those elements that easily lose electrons to form positive ions are called metals. In the free state, metals usually conduct electric current readily. Elements that hold electrons firmly and tend to gain electrons to form negative ions are called nonmetais. Two tests are commonly applied in making a decision: (1) Most metals will form the cation portion of salts having oxygen-bearing anions, such as nitrate and sulfate, and nonmetais do not. (2) Metals form at least one oxide with reasonably strong basic characteristics. The latter is not of general application because of the limited solubility of some oxides and hydroxides.

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