A metal is a chemical element that is a good conductor of both electricity and [heat and forms cations and ionic bonds with non-metals. In chemistry, a metal (Ancient Greek métallon, μέταλλον) is an element, compound, or alloy characterized by high electrical conductivity. In a metal, atoms readily lose electrons to form positive ions (cations). Those ions are surrounded by delocalized electrons, which are responsible for the conductivity. The solid thus produced is held by electrostatic interactions between the ions and the electron cloud, which are called metallic bonds.
Metals are sometimes described as an arrangement of positive ions surrounded by a cloud of delocalized electrons. They are one of the three groups of elements as distinguished by their ionization and bonding properties, along with the metalloids and non-metals.
Metals occupy the bulk of the periodic table, while non-metallic elements can only be found on the right-hand-side of the Periodic Table of the Elements. A diagonal line drawn from boron (B) to polonium (Po) separates the metals from the nonmetals. Most elements on this line are metalloids, sometimes called semiconductors. This is due to the fact that these elements exhibit electrical properties common to both conductors and insulators. Elements to the lower left of this division line are called metals, while elements to the upper right of the division line are called non-metals.
- Mortimer, Charles E. (1975). Chemistry: A Conceptual Approach, 3rd, New York:: D. Van Nostrad Company.