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Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-94), a French chemist defined an element as a basic form of matter that cannot be broken down into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Elements can be normally divided into metals, non-metals and metalloids.

Properties of metals:

  • They are lustorous (shiny)
  • They have silvery-grey or golden-yellow colour
  • They are good conductors of electricity
  • They are ductile (eg. Copper wires)
  • They are malleable (eg. Aluminium foils)
  • They are sonorous (eg. Bells in school)

Properties of non-metals:

  • They are not shiny.
  • They have various colours.
  • They are bad conductors of electricity.
  • They are non-ductile.
  • They are not malleable.
  • They are not sonorous.
  • Examples of non-metals are hydrogen, oxygen, iodine, carbon

Properties of metalloids:

  • Elements having intermediate properties between those of metals and non-metals.
  • Examples are boron, silicon, germanium etc.


  • Element
  • Characteristics of Element
  • Common Element
  1. In the universe
  2. In the Earth's crust
  3. Elements in the human Body
  4. Elements in air
  • Birth of the Element
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