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Non-metals: Properties, Applications, and Examples

Grade 4
Aug 3, 2023

Properties of Non–metals

1. Dull

Generally, non-metals are dull in nature. This property of non-metal is called non-lustrous.

Exception: Iodine is shiny in nature.

Coal-Chlorine gas-Red Phosphorous

2. Soft and Brittle

Non–metals are brittle in nature and can be broken by beating them with a hammer or with any hard substance.

Exceptions: Diamond is the hardest material.


3. Non-ductile

Ductility is one of the properties by virtue of which elements can be drawn into wires. Non-metals cannot be drawn in the form of wire. They are weak and break while transforming into the wire.


4. Non-malleable

The property of elements by which they can be beaten into thin sheets with the help of a hammer is known as malleability. Non-metals are non-malleable as they are brittle in nature.


5. Poor Conductor of Heat

Non-metals are poor conductors of heat. Heat cannot pass through them easily. Sometimes, they catch fire/melt when brought in direct contact. This property of non-metals is used for making handles in cooking ware.

Poor Conductor of Heat

6. Poor Conductor of Electricity

Non-metals are poor conductors of electricity. Electricity can’t pass through them. This property is used for covering the electrical wire. Prevent us from shock.

Exception: Graphite is a good conductor of electricity.

Poor Conductor of Electricity


  • Connect the circuit as shown in the diagram. Connect different objects like steel, wood, and copper.
  • If the object is non-metal, then the bulb will not glow.

Application of Non-metals in Day-to-day Life

1. Graphite

  • Used as pencil led as it is soft in nature.
  • Used as conductor of electricity due to good conductivity. (Exception in case of non-metals)

2. Pvc

  • Polyvinylchloride is a rubber-like material used for coating electrical wires. It protects us from getting a shock.

3. Diamond

  • It is used as jewelry due to its shiny appearance. (Exception in case of non-metals)
  • It is used as a cutter as it is strong and hard.

4. Oxygen

  • It is used for survival purposes.
  • It is used for burning fuel to get energy.

5. Red Phosphorus

  • It is used in a matchbox stick for lighting the stick.
  • It is used in fertilizers for better plant growth.

6. Chlorine

  • It is used in the purification of water.

7. Iodine

  • Purple-colored solution on wounds is used as an antiseptic.
Periodic Table

Periodic Table

Nearly 150 years ago, a Russian scientist named Mendeleev made a table of the elements. He based his table on the known properties of elements. It is the periodic table.


So far, scientists have named 112 elements. The periodic table shows how they are similar and how they are different. The non-metals are present on the right-hand side of the periodic table.

Symbols for Non-metals

Scientists use symbols for each element. Often, a symbol is the first letter of the

element’s name.

For example, C is the symbol for carbon. Some elements take their symbols from their Latin names.

element’s name




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