University of Edinburgh

BSL Chemistry Glossary - laboratory movie - metal, non-metal

Note: this is a long movie so please allow time for it to load.

Video: I will show you an experiment about how to identify if a substance is a metal or a non-metal. We will use electricity to help us. 

This is an electrical circuit with a battery and a light bulb. The bulb will only light if the electrical circuit is closed (with the wires connected). The wires are made of metal and all metals have good electrical conductivity. So if the substance is a metal, the bulb should light.

We will test two different elements to see which is a metal or a non-metal. I will try aluminium (Al) first. I will put aluminium in the circuit.  Yes the bulb is lit. So aluminium is a metal. Now we try the yellow block – sulphur (S). No, the bulb will not light, so sulphur is a non-metal.

Aluminium – METAL
Sulphur – NON-METAL

This is a good way of identifying elements to see if they are a metal or non-metal – by the use of electricity.