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Atoms and elements



Iron, magnesium and gold are examples of metal elements.

All metals have these properties in common:

  • They are shiny, especially when they are freshly cut.

  • They are good conductors of both heat and electricity.

  • They can be bent without breaking (they are malleable).

Most metals also have these properties:

  • they are solid at room temperature, except mercury, which is liquid at room temperature

  • they are hard and strong

  • they have a high density (they feel heavy for their size)

  • they make a ringing sound when they are hit (they are sonorous)

small pool of mercury

Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at standard room temperature and pressure

Mercury is the only liquid metal at room temperature.

Three metals are magnetic.

These are iron, cobalt and nickel. Steel is a mixture of elements but mostly iron, so it is also magnetic. The other metals are not magnetic.

Uses of metals

You may have to match the use of a metal with a property that makes it suitable for that use. For example, copper is used for electrical wiring because it is a good conductor of electricity, not because it is a good conductor of heat.


Atoms and elements activity

Brave the elements!



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