An element that is not a metal. Nonmetals can either be insulators or semiconductors. At low temperatures nonmetals are poor conductors of both electricity and heat as few free electrons move through the material. If the conduction band is near to the valence band (see energy bands) it is possible for nonmetals to conduct electricity at high temperatures but, in contrast to metals, the conductivity increases with increasing temperature. Nonmetals are electronegative elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulphur, and the halogens. They form compounds that contain negative ions or covalent bonds. Their oxides are either neutral or acidic.
Subjects: Chemistry — Physics.