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The complete list of metals on the periodic table and properties of metals

Dec 20, 2023


A metal is generally defined as a chemical element or molecular compound that is lustrous, ductile, malleable, and exceptionally capable of conducting heat and electricity.

That is why metals are so useful in the construction, manufacturing, and technology industries, and they, of course, play a fundamental role in engineering.

Metals can be found in all kinds of machinery, vehicles (from cars to spacecraft), electronics, biomedical devices, as well as in jewelery and decorative objects.


Some metals are also present in the human body, fulfilling basic biological functions. For example, magnesium is a metal that supports energy production at a cellular level. Magnesium is a critical cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main source of energy in cells, binds to magnesium ions to become biologically active. Magnesium is also critical for a great number of cellular functions, including oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis, DNA transcription, protein synthesis, and membrane stabilization. And that is just one metal.

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Although sometimes it can be hard to differentiate metals from non-metals and metalloids, there are about 94 metals in the periodic table, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which six are metalloids - elements with properties between, or a mixture of, metals and non-metals.

Here’s all you need to know about them.

A metal is an inorganic substance with certain chemical, physical, and mechanical properties.

Most metals are found in ores (mineral-bearing substances), but some, including copper, gold, platinum, and silver often occur in the free state because they do not readily react with other elements.

Chemists and metallurgic experts can create specific metal-based compounds for different purposes. A compound that involves at least one metal is called an alloy, independently of its natural or artificial formation.

World History Encyclopedia/Jade Koekoe

In metallurgy, metals can also be classified as ferrous or non-ferrous. Ferrous metals contain iron, while non-ferrous metals do not. This has an impact on the physical properties of each kind of metal. For example, ferrous metals tend to have more magnetic properties than non-ferrous metals, and are stronger and harder than non-ferrous metals, but also tend to be heavier and less malleable, and have less resistance to rust and corrosion.

In chemistry, metals can be classified as:

In spite of their differences, all metals share the following characteristics:

Flickr/James St. John

Gold, platinum, and silver are the most ductile metals in the periodic table.

Wikimedia Commons/National Museum of Denmark

In order of atomic number (as per the Royal Society of Chemistry):

Metalloids or semi-metals include:

Wikimedia Commons/Several authors

Alkali metals.Alkaline earth metals. Transition metals. Post-transition metals.Lanthanides. Actinides. Malleability. Ductility. Thermal conductivity. Electrical conductivity.Metallic luster.Positive ion formation.