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Properties of Metalloids

Representative metals and non metals have been reviewed along with the properties of each. Some elements however are difficult to classify as one or the other. One example, is carbon. The diamond form of carbon is a poor conductor, yet the graphite form conducts fairly well. Neither form looks metallic so carbon is classified as a non metal.

Silicon looks like a metal. However its conductivity properties are closer to those of carbon. Since some elements are neither distinctly metallic nor clearly non metallic a third class called the metalloids is recognized.

The properties of metalloids are intermediate between those of metals and those of non metals. Although most metals form ionic compounds, metalloids as a group may form ionic or covalent bonds. Under certain conditions pure metalloids conduct electricity, but do so poorly and are thus termed semiconductors. This property makes the metalloids important in micro circuitry.

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Metalloids Properties

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The general properties of metals and nonmetals are distinct. Not all the metals and nonmetals possess all these properties, but they share most of them to varying degrees.

Metalloids show some properties that are characteristic of both metals and nonmetals. Many of the metalloids such as silicon, germanium and antimony act as semiconductors which are important in solid state electronic circuits. Semiconductors are insulators at lower temperatures but become conductors at higher temperatures. The conductivities of metals by contrast decrease with increasing temperature

.Periodic Table with Metals Nonmetals and Metalloids

Aluminum is the least metallic of the metals and is sometimes classified as a metalloid. It is metallic in appearance and an excellent conductor of electricity.

The elements that border the metals and the nonmetals are metalloids. The metalloids or semi metals have properties that are somewhat of a cross between metals and nonmetals. They tend to be economically important because of their unique conductivity properties, which can make them valuable in the semiconductor.

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