Talk:Properties of metals, metalloids and nonmetals

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Name of this page[edit]

When I created this page I called it "A". On a good faith basis User:Wer900 then moved it to "B", since it does contain such tables. I've moved it back to A, for the time being, as the text accompanying the tables is currently focused on metalloids, rather than metals, metalloids and nonmetals. It could be moved back to B once the text accompanying the tables is adjusted to give a balanced commentary on all three types of element. Sandbh (talk) 12:25, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

A = Metalloid (comparison of properties with those of metals and nonmetals)
B = Comparison between metals, metalloids, and nonmetals

Just notice his ideas could be right. See Wp:TITLEFORMAT--R8R Gtrs (talk) 21:12, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes. I'd change it to Metalloid properties compared with those of metals and nonmetals Sandbh (talk) 12:10, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Formation of organometallics - is this a useful criterion?[edit]

Funny one this. If organometal means invovles a C-M bond then obviously it is a useless criterion, as metalloids and non-metals aren't metals. If it means forms a bond to carbon then some if not all non-metals (exclusing noble gases) do this quite well. C-O, bonds, C-S etc well known, as are C-X (halogens). So what is the point of this criterion? Axiosaurus (talk) 21:50, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

I recall there is some fuzziness in the organometallic literature as to its scope i.e. as to whether it extends into the metalloids. Rochow (The metalloids, 1966) said, 'Hydrocarbon derivatives of the metals have played an important part in inorganic chemistry for over a century, and since the earliest days the metalloids have figured prominently in those developments...The term "organometallic' traditionally embraces both metals and metalloids, because in this area of chemistry the metalloids stand squarely with the metals.' (pp. 36-37) Sandbh (talk) 11:04, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
you are missing the point re non-metals. If organometal means bond to carbon then these are well known for non- metals. Therefore all categories of elemnts fporm organometals. Did Rochow really say this was a determining feature of metals and metalloids as mnon- metals did not form organometal compounds? Axiosaurus (talk) 11:59, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Rochow didn't say anything about nonmetals because the concept and scope of organometallic chemistry was reasonably well understood, being essentially confined to metals and metalloids.
Organmetal doesn't mean bond to carbon. This is an extract from the scope and editorial policy of the ACS journal, Organometallics:
'For the purposes of this journal, an "organometallic" compound will be defined as one in which there is a bonding interaction (ionic or covalent, localized or delocalized) between one or more carbon atoms of an organic group or molecule and a main group, transition, lanthanide, or actinide metal atom (or atoms). Following longstanding tradition, organic derivatives of the metalloids (boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, and tellurium) will be included in this definition. Furthermore, manuscripts dealing with metal-containing compounds that do not contain metal–carbon bonds will be considered if there is a close relationship between the subject matter and the principles and practice of organometallic chemistry. Such compounds may include, inter alia, representatives from the following classes: molecular metal hydrides; metal alkoxides, thiolates, amides, and phosphides; metal complexes containing organo-group 15 and 16 ligands; metal nitrosyls. Papers dealing with certain aspects of organophosphorus, organoselenium, and organosulfur chemistry also will be considered. In evaluating submissions that deal with subject matter that is peripheral to main stream organometallic chemistry, the primary consideration is whether the manuscript is of interest to our readers.'


So, at least in the eyes of this journal, organometallics essentially = metals and metalloids. Many organometallic texts have similar scope and coverage statements in their introductory chapters. Sandbh (talk) 11:35, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
That is exactly what I was trying to get from you, we aren't comparing chemistry just getting bamboozled by a definition. To avoid the silly entry "not applicable" to non metals I suggest the table row should be "bond to carbon" and note all groups form bonds.Axiosaurus (talk) 17:35, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
I follow better what you're saying. I'll have a closer look at the wording in the table (will also follow up on your other comment re AsPO4). Sandbh (talk) 22:37, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

The rationale for the organometallic compound row was that compounds having one or more metals or metalloids bonded to a carbon in an organic group have properties distinct from compounds having one or more nonmetals (only) bonded to a carbon in an organic group. Sufficiently different to form the basis of an entire subfield of chemistry ie organometallic chemistry. So, yes, while the chemistry of metalloids is predominately nonmetallic in nature, this is not so when they are bonded to carbon atoms in organic groups---in these cases the compounds involved behave more like their metal counterparts. How about this then (no access to a PC right now otherwise would've done at same time):

Combined with carbon

Metals: Most form carbides; when bonded to carbon in an organic group, form organometallic compounds

Metalloids: As per metals

Nonmetals: Form carbon-nonmetal compounds (e.g. CO2; CS)note or organic compounds (e.g. CH4; C6H12O6)

Note: Phosphorus is known to form a carbide in thin films.
Fixed. Sandbh (talk) 04:33, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Sulfates of boron[edit]

The first binary boron sulfide is B2S2O9, a layer compound with linked BO4 and SO4 tetrahedra, was reported in 2013, the authors draw the analogy with phyllosilicates.(doi:10.1002/anie.201307056) (the 1940's formulation would probably be B2O (SO4)2 , an ionic basic sulfate. Simillarly the hydrogen sulfate of boron is not B3+ (HSO4-)3 but is covalent, "tri hydrogen sulfatoborane". This forms the superacid HB(HSO4)4 in anhydrous sulfuric. I think the simple "forms sulfates" criterion is meant to give some measure of the ability of an element to form sulfate salts, however in the case of boron there is no evidence of such salts, rather that boron is behaving as it usually does, a covalently bonding odd-ball. Axiosaurus (talk) 12:46, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Noble gases- are they in or are they out- its not clear[edit]

The lede suggests that the noble gases are included in the comparison the properties lists do not include them. Are they in or are they out? Axiosaurus (talk) 06:52, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

They're in but I haven't made this clear enough (yet). Thank you for noticing. Sandbh (talk) 11:57, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Metalloids as nonmetals[edit]

The following sentence appears in the Chemical subsection of Comparative properties:

However, some authors count metalloids as nonmetals or a sub-category of nonmetals. In this case most of the chemical properties of metalloids would be regarded as weakly nonmetallic.

It seems to me that this comment could also apply to physical properties, but maybe I'm missing something. YBG (talk) 09:17, 29 December 2014 (UTC)

Fixed. Sandbh (talk) 10:19, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
When I reorganized and combined the narrative information, I put the two "some authors" statements together and removed the specific references to physical/chemical properties. Let me know if there are problems with this. YBG (talk) 17:12, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Shared and anomalous properties[edit]

These three sections are well-organized, but a bit dense. Only after reading them several times over a period of a couple of weeks did I finally recognize the parallel structure. Here's one way of dealing with this (using metals as an example):

Metals appear lustrous (as is, or beneath any surface patina); form mixtures (alloys) when combined with other metals; tend to lose or share electrons when they react with other substances; and each forms at least one predominately basic oxide.
Most metals are silvery looking, high density, relatively soft and easily deformed solids with good electrical and thermal conductivity, closely packed structures, low ionisation energies and electronegativities, and are found naturally in combined states.
Metals with anomalous properties
Some metals appear coloured (Cu, Cs, Au), have low densities (e.g. Be, Al) or very high melting points, are liquids at or near room temperature, are brittle (e.g. Os, Bi), not easily machined (e.g. Ti, Re), or are noble (hard to oxidise) or have nonmetallic structures (Mn and Ga map to, respectively, white P and I).
Uniquely among metals, mercury has an ionisation energy that is higher than those of the nonmetals sulfur and selenium; plutonium increases its electrical conductivity when heated, in the temperature range of around –175 to +125 °C (metals normally reduce their electrical conductivity when heated).

Different ways to break the four sections up include (in order of increasing 'breakiness'):

  • New sentence with no other marking (the status quo)
  • New sentence with bold face for the first word(s)
  • New line (as 'Most' and 'Uniquely among' above)
  • New line with bold face for the first word(s)
  • New line preceded by a semicolon header (as 'Metals with anomalous properties above)

I'm not sure what combination is the best. A few other ideas

  • While trying to merge text from Periodic table (metals and nonmetals), it seemed easier to digest bulleted lists than paragraphs.
  • I considered a table (metals/metalloids/nonmetals cols) x (All/Most/Some/Unique rows), but maybe too similar to comparative section?

Anyway, I'm still at a loss as to what is the best way to reorganize these paragraphs to make them easier to read and understand. Any other comments or suggestions would be much appreciated. YBG (talk) 01:48, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Anomalous properties[edit]

These bullet lists are getting longer and longer; it seems to me there has been some scope creep. Once you start getting into the details, I'm not sure where to stop. I think we should restrict these lists to a very few points. The other points are indeed notable and very interesting, but I don't think they belong in an overview article comparing the properties of the three major categories of elements. Maybe they could find a home in metal, metalloid or nonmetal?

Incidentally, I note that there are no comparable bullets for metalloids ... I suppose that is a reflection of the fact that in virtually every way, each and every metalloid can be viewed as anomalous. On purely stylistic and layout grounds, I would like to keep these three sections as parallel as possible. Any chance of an anomaly bullet or two for metalloids? Ideally, I'd like to see roughly comparable lists for all three categories, but that's probably too much.

YBG (talk) 14:04, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

@Sandbh: Any thoughts re my suggestions above? YBG (talk) 05:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Yep, scope creep is something I'd thought of, including whether to put the notable properties bullet points into the separate articles on metals, metalloids or nonmetals. I was sort of put off of this idea by the metal article, given the way that currently reads, which is more of the general overview nature rather than being illustrative of the diversity and quirks that can be encountered amongst the metals. The properties of metals, metalloids and nonmetals was originally a comparison article but I changed it to the current title to allow it to be more illustrative.
I haven't done metalloids yet because finding interesting, sometimes overlooked properties is hard, and hard to express in interesting ways, and the ones for metals and nonmetals happened to be towards front of mind. I'll get to metalloids. I don't really think I'd mind where the novelty content ends up. At the moment this article looks like a good place, while we keep working on it. RL commitments mean I currently have less time for concentrated analysis, research, writing and editing runs. Sandbh (talk) 06:42, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
No worries. Although I think the eventual home for these details should be someplace else, I'm quite happy that they are being gathered sooner rather than later. YBG (talk) 06:50, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
OK, I decided to BB and gathered all of the anomalies together. Then by judicious paragraph breaks, I made the structure obvious enough to eliminate the Format of descriptions section as it seemed pretty obvious. I was also able to distribute the Subcategories section into each of the three sections. Overall, I think it is an improvement, but I'm more than willing to BRD it.
In the process, I discovered a nice little nugget hidden in the middle: Transition metals are the quintessential metals, and diatomic nonmetals are the quintessential nonmetals. Not particularly significant from the perspective of chemistry or physics, but quite interesting taxonomically. YBG (talk) 09:54, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
A glorious, breathtaking edit. 11/10. More to follow (puff, puff, struggling to keep with this, the Australian Open, the Asian Cup, and the Queensland state election, and astatine). Sandbh (talk) 11:01, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Initially I really liked having parallel metal/metalloid/nonmetal headings under both the Shared properties and Unique or notable properties. Then I edited one of the unique properties sub-sections and when I saved, the editor returned me to the corresponding sub-section of the Shared properties. Oops. Not a big deal, but it is a minor inconvenience that inclines me to think about whether these headers could be made slightly different somehow or other. YBG (talk) 05:18, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I've made these sections Notable metals, Notable metalloids, and Notable nonmetals. Should have done this before I started tweaking the content to avoid scrolling down after saving. YBG (talk) 02:05, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to go back to the parallel metal/metalloid/nonmetal headings. Reasons: 1. I like parallelism better. 2. To see how the editing error you mentioned works; each section/subsection has its own unique html/wiki address, so I'm not sure how this error works. 3. Errors in the way the code works, which happen below the level of what the general reader sees, shouldn't trump the structure and presentation of article content. Sandbh (talk) 01:08, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
(1) Yea, I like parallelism also (3) Yea, editors' convenience should never trump what's best for readers. With regard to (2), it is true that Properties of metals, metalloids and nonmetals#Metals, ...#Metalloids and ...#Nonmetals point to §1.1, §1.2, and §1.3; and ...#Metals_2, ...#Metalloids_2, and ...#Nonmetals_2 point to §3.1, §3.2, and §3.3. However, apparently the editor isn't smart enough and it starts the edit summary for §3.1 with /* Metals */ instead of /* Metals_2 */. Some wikimedia programmer should be able to fix that, but as you say, that certainly shouldn't drive how we organize our article. YBG (talk) 06:05, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
While I agree with the rest of your edit, I still prefer 'notable' to 'anomalous'. YBG (talk) 06:11, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
But having now read your edit summary, I'm inclined to agree with 'anomalous'. YBG (talk) 08:30, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
Another idea I have is that the bullets in the unique section be reworded so that the name of the element is always the first thing in the bullet and put in bold face. I think this would overall be a good improvement. There are a couple of stick wickets. First, for allotropes -- do we say "Black phosphorus" or "Phosphorus (in its black form)"? And second, when the bullet includes multiple elements, how to deal with that, especially when they come in two or three classes, as the magnetism bullet. YBG (talk) 05:18, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I like this one a lot. Made a start. Feel free to tinker. Sandbh (talk) 11:59, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I've tweaked a few more. Still not satisfied with all of them -- I'll make a list later. YBG (talk) 02:05, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Here's my list
  • Yes check.svg Done - Iron, cobalt, and nickel: Gadolinium & dysprosium are also mentioned, but not at the beginning.
  • Yes check.svg Done - Boron, antimony: Seems to be primarily about strong acids, these elements are only mentioned in passing toward the end.
  • Yes check.svg Done - Hydrogen: Begins with element name as a fragment isolated from the first sentence.
  • Yes check.svg Done - Helium: Begins with element name as a fragment isolated from the first sentence.
  • Yes check.svg Done - Phosphorus: Begins with element name as a fragment isolated from the first sentence.
YBG (talk) 05:24, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
All done I believe Sandbh (talk) 11:11, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Physical properties[edit]

Something doesn't seem quite right. A number of physical properties in the comparison table use the word 'metalic' or some variation of it. Something more descriptive would be helpful. It doesn't really say much to say that with regards to property 'X', metals have metalic X-ness and nonmetals have nonmetalic X-ness. Seems to mean the same thing as "Most metals are like metals, whereas most nonmetals are like nonmetals. However, metalloids, on the otherhand ...." Anyway, here are the things that I think could be improved:

Allotropy[edit]

  • Allotropy -- What is 'metallic' and 'nonmetalic' allotropy? Isn't there a better way to describe this? A quick look at Allotropy didn't provide any answers.
Right then. I had a go at this one. Sandbh (talk) 23:39, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
I still don't understand 'metalic'/'nonmetalic' allotropes. They must mean something more than just 'allotopes that metals/nonmetals have'. Is there some significant difference between the two? If so, what is it? YBG (talk) 02:29, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
Hmm. A metallic allotrope has the physical properties of a metal (looks like a metal; conducts electricity like a metal) and is considered to be a metal. A "well-behaved" non-metallic allotrope (e.g. ozone) has the physical properties of a nonmetal, and is regarded as such. Some nonmetals close to the dividing line between metals and nonmetals have allotropes that are conspicuously more "metallic" e.g. black phosphorus v white phosphorus. Better? Sandbh (talk) 04:32, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
That's helpful. I'll ponder it and see if I can't improve the description YBG (talk) 21:36, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
OK, I've reworded it and I think it reads smoothly. Please check it for accuracty. YBG (talk) 06:36, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
I've reworded this again. I think the original approach, as amended, was double-counting properties mentioned elsewhere. Sandbh (talk) 11:18, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
There is still a problem. There are two things that need to be considered with allotropy: (1) whether the element has multiple allotropes and (2) the metallicity of the allotropes of an element. As far as (2) goes, it can be assumed that at least one allotrope of a metal has metallic properties and at least one allotrope of a nonmetal has nonmetalic properties. The interesting information is that a few metals near the metalloid border also have an allotrope with nonmetallic properties and a few nonmetals near the metalloid border also have an allotrope with metallic properties. The current wording conflates these two together:
  • Metalllic: "about half have allotropes with metallic properties"
  • Nonmetallic: "majority have allotropes with nonmetallic properties"
For the present, I am removing all but the bare statement about the existance of allotropes. I think we still need to say something about the existance of anomalous allotropes, but my previous attempt to express this don't seem to have communicated clearly. YBG (talk) 04:56, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I saw this after my edits of a few minutes ago. Will have a look again. Sandbh (talk) 06:00, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
How does it look now? Sandbh (talk) 11:35, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────:Still doesn't work well. Consider this statement "around half have allotropes with metallic properties". Suppose the breakdown is as follows (using patently false numbers which are intentionally powers of two)

  • 31 elements in total being considered
  • 16 exist in only one form, i.e., they "have no allotropes" or "exist in only one allotropic form"
  • 8 exist in two or more allotropic forms, all of which have metalic properties
  • 4 exist in two allotropic forms, one with metalic properties and one with nonmetalic properties
  • 2 exist in three allotropic forms, two with metalic properties and one with nonmetalic properties
  • 1 exists in three allopropic forms, one with metalic properties and two with nonmetlaic properties
Now, how many of these elements "have allotropes with metalic properties"?
I can argue for a number of different answers, depending on how you disambiguate "have allotropes with metalic properties"
  • 15 = 8+4+2+1, because they have multiple forms and at least one is metalic
  • 10 = 8+2, because (4) and (1) only have a single allotrope (not allotropes) with metalic properties
  • 31 since the 16 can be said to have an allotrope with metalic properties
But two statements can be unambiguously made
  • 15 have multiple allotropic forms
  • 7 of these have one or more allotropic forms with anomalously nonmetalic properties
Are you able to see that the statement "X elements have allotropes with metalic properties" can be understood in more than one way? That is what I was trying to get across. YBG (talk) 07:39, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Kind of, but not really. As per the article, around half the metals (with known structures) have metallic allotropes. A few metals, namely Sn and Bi, have one semi metallic and one semiconducting allotrope, respectively. And that is it. If there were any metals with other semimetallic, semiconducting or (as in your fictional example) nometallic allotropes, we would say so, but there aren't in RL (not that we know of) so no more needs to be said, does it? Sandbh (talk) 11:29, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Tried using more specific phrasing. Does it read better now? (it looks that way to me) Sandbh (talk) 04:39, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Yea, that is an improvement. I've made some more simplifications to the metal and nonmetal entries, so that they both have two statements
  1. about the portion of the category which have multiple allotropic forms. This statement is much simpler if we for the present we simply talk about the existance of allotropes and don't make any statement about the properties of they display.
  2. about the few which have an allotrope with anomalous properties. I simplified this statement also by removing the specifics about which properties are anomalous, that seems a bit too much detail for a table like this. If additional info is needed IMHO it should be in a note rather than in the body of the table.
Notice I haven't said anything specifically about the metals whose allotropes all display metallic properties, nor about the nonmetals whose allotropes all display nonmetalic properties. This can be inferred easily from points 1 and 2.
I haven't done anything about the metalloids, thinking it would be best to try to get the wording of the metals and nonmetals nailed down and then see how the metalloid description can be adjusted to make it more. YBG (talk) 08:03, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm still am not satisfied with your wording "one or more allotropes". Let's for a minute consider tin. Which is the correct statement, "it has four allotropes" or "it has three allotropes". I can actually use both accurately.
  • Tin is a chemical element with symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It has four allotropes. The most common form, β-tin or 'white tin', has metallic properties. The less common α-tin or 'grey tin' has nonmetallic properties. Two additional allotropes, γ-tin and σ-tin, exist at temperatures above 161 °C.
  • Tin is a malleable, ductile and highly crystalline silvery-white metal. This form is known as β-tin or 'white tin'. It has three allotropes, α-tin or 'grey tin', which is stable below 13.2 °C; and γ-tin and σ-tin, which exist at temperatures above 161 °C.
In the first case, I said "it has four allotropes" because the antecedent of "it" is "the element tin". In the second case, I said "it has three allotropes" because the antecedent of "it" is "the most common form, β-tin or 'white tin'". I am presuming that in our chart, the implied subject of each statement is the element itself, not its most common form. That is why I edited it to "multiple allotropic forms". In order to say "one or more", IMHO there needs to be a qualifier like the word 'alternate' or something, so it would read something like "one or more alternate allotropic forms" or "one or more alternate forms" or "one or more alternate allotropes". There are no doubt other ways of expressing this. YBG (talk) 22:25, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Head slap! Brilliant! Yes, it's the element itself (certainly in the case of allotropy). Have edited and trimmed once again to reflect this. BTW, and funnily enough, tin was what I had in mind when I made my edit introducing the phrase "one or more". γ- and σ-tin (if the latter exists; I can't find mention of it in the references I have at hand) are high pressure forms of tin. The table, and certainly allotropy, is for the elements at atmospheric pressure (see the note to "Allotropy"). Hence tin has two allotropes. And Bi is the same: semimetallic α-, and the semiconducting thin-film form. Sandbh (talk) 00:21, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I thought there was a mental block ... been there, done that. Next question: How many of the metalloids have allotropes at stp? And then, what should the 2nd bullet for metalloids say? YBG (talk) 01:01, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
If we treat the set of metalloids as being B, Si, Ge, As, Sb and Te, then all have allotropes. My original phrasing of "All or nearly all" was designed to accommodate some fuzziness as to precisely which elements were metalloids. Frex, if metalloids are regarded as being all of the elements adjacent to the metalloid line, then Al doesn't have any allotropes, hence "All or nearly all" works although the rest of that expression wouldn't work for polonium, which only has metallic allotropes, as far as is known. For the purposes of this table, let us presume Al is a metal and that Se (which is commonly recognized as a metalloid in the environmental chemistry literature), is a nonmetal, as the table currently shows. We already note that Se has an allotrope with some metalloid-like properties and I think that is enough of an accommodation.
In light of how the first metalloid dot point reads now, I think the second dot point is fine. Your thoughts?
Oh, I removed the "at stp" caveat and reinstated a simplified form of the note re "at atmospheric pressure for elements with known structures". Not making a reference to temperature allows us to more easily accommodate gray Sn (which requires colder temperatures to form); and to accommodate a significant number of metal allotropes formed at higher temperatures, the presence of which is generally recognized in metal working and metallurgy, including bizarro plutonium, the metal from hell, with its six troublesome allotropes (five formed at higher temperatures). I haven't been counting high pressure allotropes because these are mostly obscure and not encountered outside of a diamond anvil (and don't shed much light on the differences between metals, metalloids, and nonmetals, because all of the elements blur into metals at high enough pressures). Sandbh (talk) 10:17, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
It seems to me that the metalloid section of allotropy concentrates rather too much on band structure (insulator, semi-metal, semi-conducting) rather than general metal/metalloid/nonmetal characterization. But let's leave that aside for not.
Looking at what we've got in the metal and nonmetal boxes in the allotropy row, I notice:
  • The 1st bullet says something about the prevalence of allotropy in the category.
    • For nonmetals (or for metals): most (about half) have allotropes
    • For metalloids, that would be: all have allotropes (I think we can ignore the less commonly recognized metalloids)
  • The 2nd bullet says something about anomalous allotropes, i.e., allotropes with properties that aren't characteristic of their category.
    • For nonmetals (and for metals): a few (...) have one or two allotropes with some metalloid-like properties
    • 1st, I'm wondering about the use of "metalloid-like". Is this the best way to characterize this? Or should we say "less metalic" and "less nonmetalic"? Or "more like nonmetals" and "more like nonmetals"? Or "more nonmetalic" and "more metalic"?
    • 2nd, how do we make a similar statement about metaloids? Is it that some allotropes stray over the line into metallic properties and some stray over the line to nonmetallic? Or that some elements have a collection of allotropes with widely divergent characteristics in terms of metallicity?
I'm not sure what to make of all of this, but I think I'd like to consider the following questions.
  1. Is there a better way to phrase the 2nd bullet for metals and nonmetals?
  2. Can we make the 1st metalloid bullet a bare statement about the existance of allotropy?
  3. What is the best 2nd bullet statement for metalloids?
Anyway, that's my , which I'm hoping isn't completely worthless. YBG (talk) 04:08, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
How about this then:
Metals
  • Around half have allotropes
  • A few of these (Sn, Bi, most prominently) have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids
Metalloids
  • All form allotropes, including some with physical properties more characteristic of nonmetals
Nonmetals
  • Majority form allotropes
  • Some of these (C, P, Se, I) have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids or metals
For nonmetals, "majority" (11 of 17) is a little better than "most" IMO. Sandbh (talk) 06:18, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Starting to look real close!
  • IMO, 'majority' means 51% or more; 'most' seems considerably more than that (but there may be a dialect difference or it could be my subtle bias in favor of shorter words)
It depends if you think 11 of 17 is high enough to warrant a 'most'. Because 'most' is shorter than 'majority' it seems more emphatic, whereas majority (longer, more syllables) is a milder, more nuanced word. I was just looking at thesaurus.com and the synonyms for most and majority confirm my impressions. 11 of 17 doesn't justify a most. Sandbh (talk)
Yea, 'most' is over the top. If my 'over half' doesn't work, let's discuss below. YBG (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2015 (UTC) (Over half is very good -- Sandbh)
  • How critical is it to state 'most prominently'? Would "(e.g., Sn, Bi)" work as well? If not, "(most prominently Sn, Bi)" seems to flow a bit better.
Fairly. I wanted to avoid having to refer to brittle metals such as Mn, since brittleness is a hallmark of metalloids, whereas only Sn and Bi have semimetallic or semiconducting allotropes. Only 2 of many metals and 1 of 17 nonmetals have semimetallic allotropes whereas 4 of 6 metalloids do. I kind of like your option 2; how about "(Sn, Bi especially)" ? Sandbh (talk) 11:05, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm still puzzled by the prominence of band structure (semimetalic/semiconducting) in this discussion rather than thinking about general properties of matallicity, which includes band structure among other things. Let's discuss below. YBG (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Your wording seems to me to imply the following
    • some allotropes of nonmetallic elements are rather more like metalloids and some rather more like metals
    • some allotropes of metalloid elements are more like nonmetals, but none would go the other direction into metal territory
    • some allotropes of metallic elements are more like metalloids, but none would stray into the nonmetal area
(I'm not proposing these wordings, just verifying that my understanding is correct)
I broadly agree, with some reservations as to the meaning of the expression ' "rather" more'.
  • I'd prefer (ok, strongly prefer) having two bullets for nonmetals metalloids -- split it at the comma
Agree, on the basis you meant to say metalloids (Yup -- YBG)
  • I'd like to avoid using 'some' twice under nonmetals -- is there a way to change the first one, say to 'A few of these' or 'Many of these' or 'Several of these'? How many of the 11 have an allotrope with metalloid or metallic properties?
Let's make the second one 'a few' and see how that looks. Only 4 of the 11---those listed. Sandbh (talk) 11:05, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
I think 'four of these' works great. If not, let's discuss below. YBG (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks so much for your patience in working through this. YBG (talk) 06:56, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
You're welcome. Sandbh (talk) 11:05, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
I've tried to incorporate almost all of your ideas or my responses in the table below. If anything needs more discussion, let's continue it below rather than further cluttering the indenting structure above YBG (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Discussion continued[edit]

Property Metals Metalloids Nonmetals
Current Copied from article space 17:29, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
around half have allotropes
a few (Sn, Bi) have one or two allotropes with some metalloid-like properties
all commonly recognised metalloids (B, Si, Ge, As, Sb, Te) have semiconducting or nonmetallic (insulator) allotropes
Si, Ge, As and Sb also each have a semimetallic allotrope
most have allotropes[n 1]
some (C, P, Se, I) have one or two allotropes with some metalloid-like properties
Sandbh's suggestion cut and pasted from above (presumably we'll add the wikilinks and the note later)
Around half have allotropes
A few of these (Sn, Bi, most prominently) have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids
All form allotropes, including some with physical properties more characteristic of nonmetals Majority form allotropes
Some of these (C, P, Se, I) have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids or metals
YBG
  • Consistency (lower case, 'form allotropes (but I'd be OK with 'have allotropes')
  • metals: most prominently Sn, Bi // metalloids (bullets, but 2nd needs work) // metals ('over half', 'four of these')

YBG (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

around half form allotropes
a few of these (most prominently Sn, Bi) have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids
all form allotropes
including some with physical properties more characteristic of nonmetals
over half form allotropes
four of these (C, P, Se, I) have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids or metals

I think I've incorporated all of the suggestions, with some minor modifications. I'm very satisfied with the first bullets, but the 2nd one needs some work. First, let's clarify what the understood subject is of the 2nd bullet -- is it the elements, so we mean 'a few of these have allotropes with ...' or is it the allotropes, so we mean 'a few of these allotropes have ...'? The answer to that question influences quite a number of other things, e.g., whether the 1st bullet should say 'form allotropes' or 'have allotropes' and the 'most prominently' question. By the way, am I correct that Mn has only one allotropic form and that it is brittle? YBG (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

The second dot point mainly refers to the allotropes, not the elements (below version refers to the elements). Mn exists in four allotropic forms, α (the room temperature form), β, γ, and δ. The first two are hard and brittle and have complex structures. The latter two have "normal" structures (FCC, BCC) and are not noted for being brittle. I think Sn and Bi are worth mentioning because their most stable forms are physically (and chemically) weak metals to start with, and they are both (uniquely for metals) known in forms with electronic structures that are neither unambiguously metallic nor unambiguously nonmetallic (ie standard tin has a less stable semimetallic allotrope, which behaves like a semiconductor; standard Bi is a semimetal; and also has a less stable semiconducting allotrope). Sandbh (talk) 12:08, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Sandbh Revised form, more wordy Sandbh (talk) 12:08, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
around half form allotropes
a few of these allotropes (those of Sn, Bi, most notably) have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids
all commonly recognised metalloids (B, Si, Ge, As, Sb, Te) form allotropes
including some with physical properties more characteristic of nonmetals
over half form allotropes
one or two of each of the allotropes of C, P, Se, and iodine have some physical properties more characteristic of metalloids or metals
YBG Added specific quantifier for 1st bullet; several options to make wording parallel for 2nd bullets.
  • Saying "physically more like" is briefer, and doesn't require saying how many (some, a few, ...) physical properties are anomalous. If it needs to be more nuanced, we could say "physically somewhat more like".
  • Saying "one or two" to indicate that some nonmetals have more than one anomalous allotrope is a bit too much detail for a summary table, but may be needed if we choose the 1st alternative I've shown.
  • We can't list all of the metals with anomalous allotropes, hence we need to say 'notably' or 'e.g.'. With a shorter list of metalloids and nonmetals, I presume we can list all the elements with anomalous allotropes; if not, we just need to add "e.g."

YBG (talk) 18:47, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

around half (??/??) form allotropes
a few (notably Sn, Bi) have allotropes physically more like metalloids
a few allotropes (notably of Sn, Bi) are physically more like metalloids
a few allotropes are physically more like metalloids (notably Sn, Bi)
all six (B,Si,Ge,As,Sb,Te) form allotropes
some (X,Y) have allotropes physically more like nonmetals
some allotropes (of X, Y) are physically more like nonmetals
some allotropes are physically more like nonmetals (X,Y)
over half (11/17) form allotropes
some (C,P,Se,I) have allotropes physically more like metalloids or metals
some allotropes (of C, P, Se, I) are physically more like metalloids or metals
some allotropes are physically more like metalloids or metals (C,P,Se,I)
some allotropes are physically more like metalloids (C,P,Se,I) or metals (P)
Sandbh I don't want to add a specific quantifier to the first dot point. The jury is still out on whether a few metals have allotropes. As well, I want to retain some ambiguity at the margins re just which elements are metals or nonmetals, given there is no definitive "ruling" on this question. I've nuanced the "more like" phrase by saying some allotropes in each category have more ex categorical physical properties than others in the same category. Latest version is very parallel. Can it be made briefer while retaining accuracy? Sandbh (talk) 04:43, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
around half form allotropes
a few of these (grey Sn, thin film Bi, most prominently) have more metalloidal or nonmetallic physical properties than others
all commonly recognised metalloids (B, Si, Ge, As, Sb, Te) form allotropes
some of these (red B, yellow As, for example) have more nonmetallic physical properties than others
over half form allotropes
some of these (graphite, black P, grey Se, and I, most prominently) have more metalloidal or metallic physical properties than others

My thoughts:

  • Yea, I agree with you about having a specific quantifier. good
  • I'd like to shorten the 1st metalloid bullet, either by removing "commonly recognized metalloids" or by saying "almost all" without a list done, kind of
  • I like the idea of referring to the specific allotrope by name. good
  • Is there a name for the non-nonmetallic allotrope of I? crystalline as opposed to amorphous
  • By using the allotrope name, can we just say "some (...)" instead of "some of these (...)"? done
  • I'm wondering what is the distinction between "most prominently" and "for example" fixed
  • I'd still like to shorten the 2nd bullet by paraphrasing it to eliminate the word "properties" done

YBG (talk) 07:16, 24 January 2015 (UTC) Sandbh (talk) 11:21, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

(duplicated from above, ready to be modified for comparison purposes) so modified Sandbh (talk) 11:21, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
around half form allotropes
a few (e.g. grey Sn, thin-film Bi) are more metalloidal or nonmetallic than others
all or nearly all metalloids form allotropes
some (e.g. red B, yellow As) are more nonmetallic than others
over half form allotropes
some (e.g. graphite, black P, grey Se, and crystalline I) are more metalloidal or metallic than others
Looks good! I'll move it to the article. YBG (talk) 23:31, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
  Celebration time! Sandbh (talk) 00:01, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Confession time: in addition to adding wikilinks, I made three hopefully non-controversial changes: (1) removed 'metalloids' from the 1st bullet (what else would we be talking about?), (2) added 'C' after 'graphite', (3) removed 'and' from the 2nd nonmetal bullet. YBG (talk) 00:28, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, "graphitic C" would appear to be a better term? Sandbh (talk) 05:09, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
I can see the logic, but it sure sounds clumsy. Your call. YBG (talk) 05:46, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
How about "C as graphite"? Sandbh (talk) 07:32, 25 January 2015 (UTC) Template:Done=tYBG (talk) 07:38, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Everything other than allotropy[edit]

  • Appearance -- Metalloids have 'metallic lustre'. Is that different from 'characteristic lustre' that metals are said to have?
I have changed metals and metalloids to 'lustrous' YBG (talk) 04:20, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
moved here to give allotropy its own section YBG (talk) 07:04, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Sandbh (talk) 10:06, 15 January 2015 (UTC) Enthalpy of fusion: Metalloids are 'often abnormally high compared to other close-packed metals'. What does the word 'other' mean in this context? That metalloids are metals? Somehow it doesn't seem quite right that metals 'may be high', metalloids 'often abnormally high' and metalloids are 'often low'. Is this weird progression correct?
Will have to look this one up at the library. Sandbh (talk) 00:41, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
The citation is to a transcript of a discussion so I gather the "other" was a conversational redundancy; that citation provided a citation to a journal paper, which confirmed the reference was to close-packed metals, not "other" close packed metals. I fixed it. It needs more work, but will do for now. Sandbh (talk) 11:18, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Which metals are 'close packed'? Is their enthalpy higher or lower than metals in general, of which we say "may be high"? Without this information, I'm having a hard time understanding what it means to say that metalloids' enthalpy is "often abnormally high compared to close packed metals". Looking at Heats of fusion of the elements (data page), it seems to mean that metalloids' enthalpy of fusion is "abnormally high even compared to metals". This is quite interesting -- often the metalloids are sort of half-way between metals and nonmetals, but in this case it seems that the relationship is metalloid > metal > nonmetal. YBG (talk) 05:43, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Metals with FCC, HCP, BCC or α-La are close-packed. You have the peculiar order about right, in terms of averages. Carbon is tricky because its enthalpy trumps the lot. For a nonmetal it's a real outlier. More to follow a bit later. Sandbh (talk) 06:00, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Fixed this to be more explicit (will revisit citations when we are happy with contents of whole article). Sandbh (talk) 04:18, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
I made one minor tweak so that the wrap in nonmetal only occurs when absolutely necessary. I'm fine with the content, but if you really prefer to have the bullets, you can revert. And if the cites force it to two lines even on wide monitors, I'm fine even going back to the bullets with forced linebreaks, though a situation with bullets in only one column seems estheticly challenged. YBG (talk) 06:42, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
This is good. I think were done with this one, for now. Sandbh (talk) 10:06, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
  • YBG (talk) 00:35, 9 January 2015 (UTC) What is liquid electrical conductivity? Is it just the electrical conductivity of the liquid state? Seems like the values of this property should be high and low or maybe a measurement in mhos, but certainly 'metallic' and 'nonmetallic' aren't acceptable values for conductivity.
Oh, it refers to electrical conductivity behaviour when liquid. When metals become liquid they continue to conduct electricity like metals i.e. conductivity falls gradually as temperature rises. Nonmetallic conductivity is the opposite: conductivity increases as temperature rises. There is a reference to this phenomenon in the metalloid article, here (second paragraph). Sandbh (talk) 23:25, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Band structure: What does it mean to be 'metallic' or 'semimetallic' Isn't there a better description of this.
Explanatory note attached. Sandbh (talk) 12:32, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
OK, I'll see if I can incorporate it. Thanks so much for your help! YBG (talk) 21:36, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

YBG (talk) 06:56, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Ta, @Sandbh:. I've lost track of the number of times I've had my misspellings corrected, and I think it has always been you. (note to self: metallicity, metallic, metalloid, nonmetallic). YBG (talk) 07:09, 11 January 2015 (UTC)
 :) Sandbh (talk) 11:18, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Band structure[edit]

I'd like to do some tweaking here before making changes in article space. Others are free to join in or wait until I settle on something.

Property Metals Metalloids Nonmetals
As of 06:24, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
As is mostly "metallic", with overlap between valence and conduction bands
Bi is "semimetallic", with slightly overlapping bands
generally "semiconductor" or "semimetallic" (As, Sb = semimetallic) mostly "semiconductor" or "insulator", with narrow or wide gap between valence and conduction bands
carbon, as graphite, is partly semimetallic
Note attached to 'Band structure' in first column:
In a solid with a metallic band structure, the valence band and the conduction band actually or effectively overlap (just touching or very slightly in the case of a semimetallic band structure). In a semiconductor there is a relatively narrow energy gap between the valence band and conduction band (1.11 eV in the case of silicon). An insulator has a relatively wide energy gap between valence and conduction bands (2.5 eV for sulfur).
Here's my first attempt YBG (talk) 06:56, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
#1 overlappling valence, conduction bands
mostly wide overlap: metalic properties
slight overlap (Bi): semimetallic properties
slight overlap or slight gap
generally slight gap: semiconductor
slight overlap (As,Sb): semimetalic
gaps between valence, conduction bands
slight gap: semiconductor properties
wide gap: insulator properties
slight overlap (C as graphite): semimetallic
I'm generally happy with this, though I'd really like to leave the graphite exception unmentioned. YBG (talk) 06:56, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
#2 Same as above, ready for my next version in a few days, or for anyone else who wants to YBG (talk) 06:56, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
   #2a a few quick edits Sandbh (talk) 11:40, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
#2 overlapping valence, conduction bands
substantial overlap: metallic properties
slight overlap (Bi): semimetallic properties
slight overlap or narrow gap
narrow gap: semiconductor
slight overlap (As,Sb): semimetallic
gaps between valence, conduction bands
narrow gap: semiconductor properties
wide gap: insulator properties
slight overlap (C as graphite): semimetallic
#3 copied from above YBG (talk) 06:07, 30 January 2015 (UTC) Then modified. Comments? YBG (talk) 06:18, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
#3 overlapping valence, conduction bands
substantial: metallic properties
slight: semimetallic properties (e.g. Bi)
slight overlap or narrow gap
narrow gap: semiconductor
slight overlap: semimetallic (e.g. As,Sb)
gaps between valence, conduction bands
narrow: semiconductor properties
wide: insulator properties
slight overlap: semimetallic C (graphite)
The graphene sheets are sometimes described as a gapless semiconductors (grey tin is another).Axiosaurus (talk) 08:47, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Not sure this is pertinent since we are dealing here with the elements in their most stable forms, rather than their allotropes or monatomic layers? Sandbh (talk) 05:48, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
#4 copied from above YBG (talk) 23:24, 30 January 2015 (UTC) and modified YBG (talk) 23:32, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Band structure overlapping valence, conduction bands
substantial: metallic properties
slight: semimetallic properties (e.g. Bi)
slight overlap or narrow gap
narrow gap: semiconductor
slight overlap: semimetallic (e.g. As,Sb)
gaps between valence, conduction bands
narrow: semiconductor properties
wide: insulator properties
slight overlap: semimetallic C (graphite)
Some questions to consider
  • Is the note still needed after the word 'band structure'? (Note text shown at the top of this section)
No
  • Should the word 'properties' extensively used above be replaced by the word 'structure'
I think not, unless you said electronic structure, which would seem to be redundant
  • Is the graphene exception necessary (OK, it is disturbing the nice parallelism and my OCD tendencies.
Yep, to show that nonmetals close to the metalloid line start to cross breed
  • Overall is this better than what is in article space right now?
It is better in that it's more parallel but at the expense of readability, as it appears to me Sandbh (talk) 01:32, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

YBG (talk) 23:32, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

#5 copied from above and modified Sandbh (talk) 01:25, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
  • First dot point = opening statement; second dot point = exceptions, as per approach taken with allotropy
  • Am a little uncertain now re C as a semimetal. It certainly is that in the direction of its planes; we need to double check what happens perpendicular to that. I read somewhere (probably here) that the bonding between the planes is metallic, which is weird because I had understood that graphite behaved as a semiconductor perpendicular to its planes.
Band structure nearly all have substantially overlapping valence, conduction bands
in Bi, a semimetal, the bands overlap only slightly
majority have a narrow gap i.e. are semiconductors
some (As, Sb) are semimetals
most have wide gaps between valence, conduction bands i.e. are insulators
a few are semiconductors (black P, Se, I in the direction of its planes); C as graphite is a semimetal
#6: Merging ideas from Sandbh & YBG (talk) 06:19, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Valence/conduction
band structure
nearly all: substantial band overlap
one semimetal (slight overlap): Bi
mostly semiconductors (narrow gap)
some semimetals (slight overlap): As,Sb
mostly insulators (wide band gap)
a few semiconductors: black P, Se, I
one semimetal: C as graphite
I'm not completely satisfied with this, but its the best I can do right now.
  • I've not included information about directionality, as I thought that a bit too much detail for an overview table.
OK Sandbh (talk) 00:53, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I used the word 'one' in two places on the assumption that the example given is the only one; if not, then 'one' should be changed to 'some'
Don't think this is required given format of #7 Sandbh (talk) 00:53, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

YBG (talk) 06:19, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

#7: Riffing on #6 Sandbh (talk) 00:53, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Electronic structure (valence and conduction bands) nearly all have substantial overlap
Bi has slight band overlap (semimetal)
majority have narrow gap (semiconductors)
As, Sb are semimetals
most have wide gap (insulators)
C as graphite is a semimetal, black P, Se, I are semiconductors
#8: A few tweaks: (a) col1 'and'→‎coma (b) 'band' before overlap/gap (c) '=' when semimetal/semiconductor/insulator defined (d) nonmetal exceptions in 2 parallel bullets
I think each of these is an improvement, but I'm not tied to any of them. YBG (talk) 06:53, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Electronic structure: (valence, conduction bands) nearly all have substantial band overlap
Bi has slight band overlap (= semimetal)
most have narrow band gap (= semiconductors)
As, Sb are semimetals
most have wide band gap (= insulators)
C (graphite) is a semimetal
P (black), Se, I are semiconductors
This one is good to go! (I adjusted the spacing) Sandbh (talk) 11:47, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I copied it over without the '=' -- I preferred no '=' to having the '=' with a space. Also, in the process, the note in the first column was left out -- I think maybe we have enough info that the note isn't needed any more, but I'm not quite sure. Thanks! YBG (talk) 22:48, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Chemical properties[edit]

I changed "with hydrogen", "with oxygen" etc back to the terms "hydrides", "oxides" etc, mainly because (a) when comparing the properties of metals and nonmetals in the literature, it is usual to refer to the terms/list the properties of the "hydrides", "oxides" etc, rather than using the form "with [insert subject]" etc (see, for example, Kneen WR, Rogers MJW & Simpson P 1972, upon which columns 2 and 4 are based); and (b) the classical terminology makes the summaries of the properties easier to phrase. Sandbh (talk) 04:48, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Looking at the big picture[edit]

Here's a list of things I'd like to see fixed:

I've left a message for DePiep to see if he can do this. YBG (talk) 08:16, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedMetalloid pic Change it; tellurium looks like a quintessential metal
Tricky, given metalloids look like metals. Did you have anything in mind?
I didn't have anything in particular in mind. Now that I've looked at them, they all look pretty metallic. The silicon picture looks least metallic; it looks a bit like non-metallic obsidian to me. The gallium pic, although it is silvery, seems less metallic because of the crystal structure. (YBG)
Hmm. If they all look pretty metallic then showcasing the least metallic would be dubious; gallium's a metal rather than a metalloid. See list of metalloid lists. Sandbh (talk) 23:07, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Yea, I suppose my idea was rather trying to overemphasize the between-category differences rather than within-category similiarities.
  • yellow tickY Partly doneComparative properties: Intro paragraph seems a bit too self-referential for my taste.
Had a go at this one
I've tweaked it a bit, too. What do you think? (YBG)
No, that one doesn't work. First para isn't directly related to the section title; second para still too self-referential. I like the version before this one with the intro before the tables and the conclusion and caveat after. I like having some text after the tables. Sandbh (talk) 11:26, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
(a) 1st paragraph -- I tried swapping the paragraphs and that didn't seem to work either.
(b) self-referential -- yea, but I noticed that after I fiddled with the stuff, the self-referentiality didn't seem to bother me as much
(c) conclusion after tables -- IMHO it seems clumsy for the Phys+Chem summary to appear in the Chem section, but it certainly doesn't require a separate section.
It would be real nice if we could combine the two tables into one large table with a half-dozen collapsing sections. This would work well if similar properties were grouped together. I'm looking through MOS:COLLAPSE, and Help:Collapsing and WP:NavFrame to see if I can figure out a nice way to implement this. YBG (talk) 07:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
After we've got the groups organized, I'll investigate our options for collapsing. YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I've implemented the collapsing sub-tables. Can't quite get the column widths to exactly match when the tables are collapsed, but they are pretty close. Now that it is all one big section, that eliminated my objection to having the summary at the end and so I made it so. Please comment on this and others marked Partly done -- I don't want to mark them as done without some input from others. YBG (talk) 08:16, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
A superb edit, thank you YBG. I changed the chemical property group headings to distributive (meaning "Of, belonging to, or arising from, distribution."), native ("Belonging to, or connected with, a person or thing by nature or natural constitution, in contrast to what is acquired or superadded; esp. of qualities which are inherent or innate in the person or thing.") and combinative (an alloy, strictly speaking isn't a compound; combinative = "Of, pertaining to, or of the nature of combination; cumulative.") Meanings from OED. 'Distributive' is not quite ideal but the best I have for now. The segmented boxes in the metalloid column are clever. They show metalloids are their own show, with a slight nod to the metals, appropriately enough. The accompanying paragraphs work better now. Re the column widths, I presume this has something to do with using percentages rather than fixed widths. Not sure I see any advantage in using percentage column widths. Sandbh (talk) 10:26, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
(1) yellow tickY Partly done — Other ideas for property group names: "Innate" or "Elemental" and "In combination". Can't come up with an alternative for "Distributive"
(2) yellow tickY Partly done — What about labeling the metalloid colorbars with the fractions I've added as comments?
(3) yellow tickY Partly done — What would you think of changing the headers? (b) would work particularly well with labeled colorbars
(a) Physical(Chemical) properties / of metals / of metalloids / of nonmetals
(b) Physical(Chemical) / Properties of metals / Properties of metalloids / Properties of nonmetals
(4) Pending — I've done some experimenting trying to resolve the column widths. It is not related to using percentages in the colorbar tables.
(5) Pending — I think it would be nicer if the whitespace between the sub-tables were narrower YBG (talk) 10:08, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
With slight variations, I've implemented (1) through (3) YBG (talk) 02:36, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Added progress marks to the above items. YBG (talk) 08:45, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedComparative properties: Allow the tables to be sorted by the color of the metalloid column
This may be less desirable with the groupings YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
It does not appear possible to do this with the collapsing subtables. YBG (talk) 08:16, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg DonePhysical properties: Is the order given the best order?
Did you mean the order of the individual rows or the organising principle (easy to harder to determine)?
I was thinking of the organizing principle. Ease of determination doesn't help you know where to look for something, and doesn't necessarily group related properties together. (YBG)
Here are what seems to me to be logical groupings (YBG (talk) 07:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC))
  • (3 items) Form; Appearance; Reflectivity
  • (2 items) Conductivity: Electrical conductivity; Liquid electrical conductivity
  • (3 items) Thermal conductivity; Temp coef of resistance; Thermal conductivity;
  • (4 items) Electrons: PT block; Outer s+p electrons; Electronic structure; Electron behaviour
  • (2 items) Deformability: When solid; Poisson's ratio
  • (2 items) Melting behaviour; Enthalpy of fusion
  • (3 items) Density; Packing; Atomic radius; Allotropy
Brilliant! Listed in the following order(?): Form; Density; Deformability; Thermal; Melting; Electrical; Electrons. Still listed by loose order of ease of determination of each lede property. Sandbh (talk) 11:40, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Sounds good. Any chance of combining groups to avoid so many with just 2 or 3 properties? What would be a good header to use for each group? YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Groups could be: Form-density-deformability; and thermal-melting; and electrical-electrons. Let me think about headers. Sandbh (talk) 23:44, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Descriptive, thermal, electron-related? Sandbh (talk) 00:10, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
OK, it's done that way ... I think there could be some more tweaks. YBG (talk) 03:08, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Current version: descriptive, thermal, electric works for me. Sandbh (talk) 10:26, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg DoneChemical properties: Is the order given the best order?
Here are what seems to me to be logical groupings (YBG (talk) 07:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC))
  • General behaviour; Ion formation; Bonds; Oxidation No; Ionization energy; Electronegativity
  • Occurrence: In general; In human body
  • Chemical compounds: With metals; Carbon compounds; Hydrides; Oxides; Sulfates; Halides
That's good too. Since you have to find stuff before you can assess behaviour, I'd go occurrence, general behaviour, compounds. Sandbh (talk) 11:40, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Any comments on the format I've implemented? YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Was thinking about something along these lines this morning, and wondering what colour to use for shading. Also whether to left align or centre the headers. Looks good in other words. Sandbh (talk) 23:00, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Done, for mine. Sandbh (talk) 10:26, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg DoneUnique or notable properties: What order should the bullets appear in?
Atomic number, I reckon
Sounds OK, but the items with multiple elements could prove tricky. (YBG)
All are in atomic number order. Bullets with multiple elements are based on the atomic number of the first listed element. YBG (talk) 07:33, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Not sureEnd matter: What navbox(es) should be included?
I hope to work thru these like this: Not sure Already done
Rejected
Pendingyellow tickY Partly doneYes check.svg Done

I've marked some of these Pending; if you disagree, change back to Not sure. YBG (talk) 06:38, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Added a few comments above YBG (talk) 05:13, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

More about the comparison tables[edit]

Some things about the tables. The issue with uneven columns is pronounced on my ipad; if I switch to mobile view this becomes worse, since the middle column header rows become mangled. I also see that our current collapsed tables are in breach of MOS:COLLAPSE since they conceal article content.

Upon further reflection I prefer uncollapsed tables. If this means we need to look again at the content and positioning of accompanying explanatory and analytical paragraphs so be it; there does not need to be a paragraph after the tables (as I originally preferred). Happy if we keep the three sub-groupings for each of the sets of physical and chemical properties. This may require some reconsideration as to how we incorporate the sub-groupings into each table. Sandbh (talk) 00:59, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

A weak case could be made for our collapsing tables being in compliance with MOS:COLLAPSE based on "Collapsible sections or cells may be used in tables that consolidate information covered in the main text" -- in so far as the metalloid colorbars consolidate information. But it is a bit of a reach and probably wouldn't hold up any serious opposition. What about having the tables uncollapsed by default? Does that make any difference?
In the end, no matter the MOS:COLLAPSE verdict, the inability to make the column widths match inclines me to give up on collapsing tables. I agree that we should keep the subgroupings in order to make the information more digestible. But I disagree with you about the analytical paragraphs; I think they still provide value, and I like them at the end -- provided we don't redivide it into Physical and Chemical subsections. YBG (talk) 04:53, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
I've made several edits in relatively quick succession:
  • 1 (diff) default tables to uncollapsed
  • 2 (diff) two tables without any collapsing
  • 3 (diff) one big table
I'm really disappointed to see the collapsing tables gone, it was a really nice way of providing an overview. Sigh. YBG (talk) 05:38, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
This is quite good (your work, not the final outcome, necessarily). Let me think about this for a little while. Sandbh (talk) 10:42, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
I've added a new mini-table at the top that includes the metalloid colorbars for all of the groups of properties and wikilinks to each group in the main table, which now has "(top)" links so you can get back to the mini-table. I also moved the two summary paragraphs up to the top where they provide a nice narative that corresponds to the colorbars displayed in the mini-table and also fills up what would otherwise be a big blob of whitespace. The first paragraph still needs some copyediting and I'm pondering whether to add a caption to the right of mini-table advising the reader to use the wikilinks to navigate into the mini-table. YBG (talk) 06:08, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
I pulled out my copy of Tufte's The visual display of quantitative information from storage and will have a look for more ideas. We may stifled by the limitations of wiki pipe code etc, but worth a look. My time is a bit limited as I'm also helping R8R Gtrs getting astatine FAC ready, so I could be a while-ish. Sandbh (talk) 04:33, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
See here for an extract of Tufte. I like the supertable at p. 179. The only one in the book but. Note minimal use of vertical rules. 7±2 rule observed within groupings of results. Sub headings not uses when row subject matter obvious. Hanging paragraph format used when a descriptive measure takes up more than one line. No duplication of heading titles. Our table is a little more complicated since we have two levels of sub-headings---physical v chemical, and subheadings within those two, rather than no more than one sub-heading in Tufte's table. Sandbh (talk) 01:22, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Another read thru[edit]

I read thru the whole article -- except for the comparison table and made a number of copy edits. Here are a few things I wasn't able to immediately fix:

  • Lede section
    • Yes check.svg Done - Sentence #1 says "according to their shared properties" but section 1 titled "Common properties"; maybe they should be parallel?
I'll change it to 'shared', since the 'some' properties described in each category of metals, metalloids, and nonmetals are not common (as in typical) within that category but they certainly are shared by the 'some' elements. Sandbh (talk) 11:46, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Looks good. YBG (talk) 05:41, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg Done - Sentence #2 "as is" seems a bit obtuse in "lustrous appearance (as is, or beneath any surface patina)"
  • I changed this into something plainer. Sandbh (talk) 11:23, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Pending - Pic still needs to have the outline added
  • Restored this item -- I think S&BH deleted it by mistake YBG (talk) 15:42, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Common properties - Metals
    • Yes check.svg Done - "as is" -- same comment as above
  • Hmm. I think this one is OK so as to avoid duplicating the same sentence in the lede. A bit of variety in wording is a good thing, as I see it. Sandbh (talk) 11:23, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Changed this to "appear lustrous (beneath any patina)". Not 100% sure this is best, so leaving it {{Partly done}}. YBG (talk) 06:00, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
      • Can't think of anything better, so I'm changing it to {{done}} YBG (talk) 05:41, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Common properties - Nonmetals
    • Pending - paragraph #3 (Some nonmetals ...) seems clumsy, esp. allotropy part.
      Here's what it says now (YBG (talk) 06:00, 19 February 2015 (UTC)):
      Some nonmetals (C, black P, S and I) are brittle solids at room temperature however these are also known in malleable, pliable or ductile forms; some other nonmetals are either highly reactive (O, F, white P, Cl) or relatively unreactive (N, black P) or noble.
This is an outcome of the structure of that section into features shared by all, most or some nonmetals. The mention of non-brittle allotropes is to address the text-book error that metals are the only ductile/malleable elements. Sandbh (talk) 09:53, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Do we really need to say anything about reactivity? What else is there besides "highly reactive", "relatively unreactive" and "noble"? Doesn't that pretty much cover almost everything? Well, I suppose there is "relatively reactive". So are we just saying that almost all non-metals are something besides "relatively reactive"? Or maybe I'm missing something.
I propose that we skip the information about reactivity and just say this:
Some nonmetals (C, black P, S and I) are brittle solids at room temperature (although each of these also have malleable, pliable or ductile allotropes).
YBG (talk) 04:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comparison
    • yellow tickY Partly done - Some rewording of the distribution (geobiochemistry) section might better justify its placement in the chemistry section
Geobiochemistry Metals Metalloids Nonmetals
This is what is currently in article space. I changed the 1st property description to say "Chemical form ..." in order to better justify this item being a chemical property. It seems that most of the reason for the composition of the human body has to do with biochemistry, but it certainly doesn't indicat that here. YBG (talk) 06:00, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Chemical form found on Earth
(elemental or combined)
most found usually in combined states
some (e.g. Au, Cu, Ag, Pt) occur in free or uncombined states[1]
all found usually in combined states majority (C, N, O, S, noble gases) found uncombined in large amounts
others only combined (except H, F[n 2], Se)
Composition of the human body about 1.5% Ca
traces of most others thru 92U
trace amounts of B, Si, Ge, As, Sb, Te about 97% O, C, H, N, P;
others detectable except noble gases
To make this section a bit more chemical I have thought about listing what kind of combined states (e.g. oxides, carbonates) etc the elements are found in on earth; and how the elements are used in humans (Ca in bones; Fe in blood; H, C, N, O; nearly everywhere; I in thyroid)---but I don't know yet if the latter can be done concisely enough. I presume something like U has no biological uses and is an environmental contaminant. Sandbh (talk) 06:10, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I think you're on the right track. The key will be to avoid getting into too much detail -- e.g., specific organs like the thyroid. What about major categories of biochemistry. Maybe look at the major categories of biochemicals or the major ways different classes of elements contribute to biochemistry. For example, many metals, although they aren't present in large quantities, have a key role in specific biochemicals: iron in hemoglobin, magnesium in chlorophyl, and I'm sure there are other examples. The point is that metals are essential trace elements. Nonmetals form the backbone, especially our old friends the ignoble non-metals, i.e., CHON, which were first mentioned in the middle of our marathon discussion. YBG (talk) 07:02, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I added "Necessity for mammalian life" instead. Sandbh (talk) 06:02, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
That's good. Describing whether elements are (a) present in large quantites or (b) present in small quantities or (c) absent altogether is certainly better than going into too much detail, but I was wondering (hoping) that there might be something a bit more detailed without being too much so. YBG (talk) 07:04, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Should we wikilink to Biogeochemistry? YBG (talk) 07:10, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Hmmm. Is there a difference between biogeochem and geobiochem? Sandbh (talk) 22:39, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Judging by this article, geobiochem is appropriate. Sandbh (talk) 06:08, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm fine with leaving it as GBC but linking to the BGC article, if you think the link would be good. Or we could propose a move to that article. YBG (talk) 07:04, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Anomalies - Metals
    • Already done - Iron &c. -- Is the first sentence accurate, i.e., are there no other elements strongly attracted to magnets?
  • That is the case as I understand it. The iron metals are so common in modern society that there is a perception that (nearly all) metals are magnetic. I'll be adding citations to items such as this. Sandbh (talk) 11:23, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Great. I just wanted to check since before I listed all elements at the beginning, the exclusive claim had only applied to the STP list.YBG (talk) 15:42, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

(Original list) YBG (talk) 04:32, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
Cite error: There are <ref group=n> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=n}} template (see the help page).

  1. ^ Perkins 1998, p. 350
  2. ^ Sanderson 2012