Oxygen, carbon, sulfur and chlorine are examples of non-metal elements. Non-metals have properties in common. They are:
Most non-metals also have these properties:
Eleven non-metals are gases at room temperature, including oxygen and chlorine.
One non-metal, bromine, is a liquid at room temperature.
The other non-metals are solids at room temperature, including carbon and sulfur.
Non-metals react with oxygen to produce non-metal oxides. For example, sulfur reacts with oxygen to produce sulfur dioxide. The reaction can be represented by this word equation:
sulfur + oxygen → sulfur dioxide
Non-metal oxides react with bases and neutralise them. Some non-metal oxides dissolve in water and, when they do, they produce acidic solutions.
Carbon is a solid non-metal element. Pure carbon can exist in very different forms. The most common two are diamond and graphite. The table shows some differences between them.
|Transparent and colourless||Opaque and black|
Diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth, but it is also very brittle and will shatter if hit with a hammer.
Graphite is unusual because it is a non-metal that conducts electricity.