Minerals vs Metals
Both minerals and metals are found in the natural environment.
Minerals are present in the natural environment. They can be found in earths’ surface and underground. They are homogenous solids, and they have regular structures. Minerals are found in rocks, ores and natural mineral deposits. For example, hematite and magnetite are found in iron ores. Minerals like gems and diamonds are rare. There are a large number of minerals, and they can be identified by studying their shape, color, structure and properties. Some minerals are shiny (e.g. gold, silver) and some are not. Cleavage is the way minerals split apart naturally. Some minerals split into cubes, and some are split to irregular shapes. To measure the hardness of a mineral, Mohs scale is used. It is a 1-10 scale. Diamond is rated as 10 in that scale, and very harder than talc, which is rated as 1.
Metals are known to human kind for a very long time. There are evidences to prove about metal usage back in 6000 BC. Gold and copper were the first metals to be discovered. These were used to make tools, jewelry, statues etc. Since then for a longer period only few other metals (17) were discovered. Now we are familiar with 86 different types of metals.
Metals are very important because of their unique characteristics. Usually metals are hard and strong (there are exceptions to this such as sodium. Sodium can be cut by a knife). Mercury is the metal which is in the liquid state. Besides mercury, all the other metals are found in the solid state, and it is hard to break them or change their shape compared to other non metal elements. Metals have a shiny appearance and most of them have a silvery shine (except gold and copper). Since some metals are very reactive with the atmospheric gases like oxygen, they tend to get dull colors over time. This is mainly due to the formation of metal oxide layers. On the other hand, metals like gold and platinum are very stable and unreactive. Metals are Malleable and ductile, which allows them to be used for making certain tools.
Metals are atoms, which can form cations by removing electrons. So they are electropositive. The type of bond forms between metal atoms is called metallic bonding. Metals release electrons in their outer shells and these electrons are dispersed between metal cations. Therefore, they are known as a sea of delocalized electrons. The electrostatic interactions between the electrons and cations are called metallic bonding. The electrons can move; therefore, metals have the ability to conduct electricity. Also, they are good thermal conductors. Because of the metallic bonding metals have an ordered structure. High melting points and boiling points of metals are also due to this strong metallic bonding.
Moreover, metals have a higher density than water. Elements in group IA and IIA are light metals. They have some variations from the above described general features of metal.
What is the difference between Minerals and Metals?
• Metal is an element and mineral is a compound.
• Most metals are naturally present as minerals.
• Metals are reactive than minerals.
• Metal and the respective minerals of that metal have different appearances and other properties.