Metalloids: Are the least common type of elements, their properties are a mix of nonmetal and metal properties. The metalloids are hybrid elements. Perhaps the most important characteristic of metalloids is that they partially conduct electricity for semi-conductors.

Nonmetals: Are opposites of metals, that’s why they are called nonmetals (not metals). They are not malleable or ductile, they are brittle. Metals normally lose electrons to become cations, but nonmetals do the opposite and gain electrons to become anions.

Halogens: Are located in the second column from the right side of the periodic table (group 17). They all have seven valence electrons, which make them highly reactive for covalent bonds. The halogen family consists of fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine. Halogens form ionic bonds with all kinds of elements. One common substance you see every day is sodium chloride (NaCl) which is better known as salt.

Noble Gases: Are located on the far-right column of the periodic table. These elements are very unreactive because they have their outer shells fully filled with eight electrons (except helium which has two). The noble gas family consists of helium (which is used in balloons), neon (neon lights), krypton, xenon (which is used in headlights), argon (which is used in light bulbs), and radon (whose isotopes can be used to cure cancer).

Alkali Metals: Are located to the far left side of the periodic table (Group 1) excluding hydrogen. They are in the first group because they each only have one valence electron. Alkali metals are very reactive because they only need to lose one electron to have a full shell. This family consists of lithium (used in batteries), sodium (combines with chlorine to make salt), potassium (found in bananas), rubidium cesium, and francium.


Alkaline Earth Metals: Are located one column to the right of the alkali metals (Group 2). They are also highly reactive, but not as reactive as the alkali metals because they have two valence electrons. They are called alkaline metals because when they are mixed in solutions they form basic (alkaline) solutions. The alkaline earth metals family consists of beryllium, magnesium, calcium (what makes strong bones), strontium, barium, and radium.

Transition Metals: Make up, by far, the largest family on the periodic table. They are located between and including the following elements horizontally: scandium through copper, yttrium through silver, lanthanum through gold, actinium through all higher atomic numbers in that period. They have a lot of electrons (normally) and distribute them in many advanced/ complicated ways.

Lanthanides: Are a group of metals located on the second row from the bottom of the periodic table. They are fairly rare, their atomic numbers range from 57 (lanthanum) to 71 (lutetium). Some of these elements can be found in superconductors, glass production, or lasers.

Actinides: Are a group of metals in the bottom row of the periodic table. The actinide family contains fifteen elements starting with actinium through the entire row to lawrencium. All actinides are radioactive and some are not found in nature.

author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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