University of Edinburgh

BSL Chemistry Glossary - non-metal - definition

Definition: The non-metals are elements on the right of the periodic table. Non-metals can be gases, liquids or solids. Non-metals are dull in colour, not shiny like metals. You can't hammer or shape a non-metal; it will just shatter if you hit it. Sulphur is an example of a non-metal. It's yellow and shatters if you hit it with a hammer. Non-metals don't conduct electricity well: they are insulators. There is one exception: graphite is a non-metal which can conduct electricity.