Science, Tech, Math › Science Metalloids or Semimetals: Definition, List of Elements, and Properties Learn About the In-Between Element Group Share Flipboard Email Print Silicon is used in making chips for electronics. Momolelouch / Getty Images Science Chemistry Periodic Table Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 14, 2019 Between the metals and nonmetals is a group of elements known as either the semimetals or the metalloids, which are elements that have properties intermediate between those of the metals and nonmetals. Most metalloids have a shiny, metallic appearance but are brittle, unexceptional electrical conductors and display nonmetallic chemical properties. Metalloids have semiconductor properties and form amphoteric oxides. Location on the Periodic Table The metalloids or semimetals are located along the line between the metals and nonmetals in the periodic table. Because these elements have intermediate properties, it's sort of a judgment call as to whether a particular element is a metalloid or should be assigned to one of the other groups. You'll find metalloids are classified differently in different classification systems, depending on the scientist or author. There is no single "right" way to divide the elements. List of Elements That Are Metalloids The metalloids are generally considered to be: BoronSiliconGermaniumArsenicAntimonyTelluriumPolonium (usually recognized, sometimes considered a metal)Astatine (sometimes recognized, otherwise seen as a halogen) Element 117, tennessine, has not been produced in sufficient amounts to verify its properties but is predicted to be a metalloid. Some scientists consider neighboring elements on the periodic table to either be metalloids or to have metalloid characteristics. An example is carbon, which may be considered either a nonmetal or a metalloid, depending on its allotrope. The diamond form of carbon looks and behaves as a nonmetal, while the graphite allotrope has a metallic luster and acts as an electrical semiconductor and so is a metalloid. Phosphorus and oxygen are other elements that have both nonmetallic and metalloid allotropes. Selenium is considered to be a metalloid in environmental chemistry. Other elements that may behave as metalloids under certain conditions are hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, tin, bismuth, zinc, gallium, iodine, lead, and radon. Properties of the Semimetals or Metalloids The electronegativities and ionization energies of the metalloids are between those of the metals and nonmetals, so the metalloids exhibit characteristics of both classes. Silicon, for example, possesses a metallic luster, yet it is an inefficient conductor and is brittle. The reactivity of the metalloids depends on the element with which they are reacting. For example, boron acts as a nonmetal when reacting with sodium yet as a metal when reacting with fluorine. The boiling points, melting points, and densities of the metalloids vary widely. The intermediate conductivity of metalloids means they tend to make good semiconductors. Commonalities Between Metalloids Here is a list of the properties common among metalloids: Electronegativities between those of metals and nonmetalsIonization energies between those of metals and nonmetalsPossession of some characteristics of metals, some of nonmetalsReactivity depending on the properties of the other elements in the reactionOften good semiconductorsOften having a metallic luster, although they may have allotropes that appear nonmetallicUsually behaving as nonmetals in chemical reactionsAbility to form alloys with metalsUsually brittleUsually solids under ordinary conditions Metalloid Facts A few interesting facts about several metalloids: The most abundant metalloid in Earth's crust is silicon, which is the second most abundant element overall (oxygen is most abundant).The least abundant natural metalloid is tellurium.Metalloids are valuable in the electronics industry. Silicon, for example, is used to make the chips found in phones and computers.Arsenic and polonium are highly toxic metalloids.Antimony and tellurium are used primarily in metal alloys to add desirable properties.