- A chemical element which is usually a hard, malleable, and dense crystalline solid which is lustrous, and a good conductor of heat and electricity. However, not all metals have all these properties. sodium and potassium, for instance, are soft, mercury is a liquid at ordinary pressures and temperatures, beryllium and bismuth are brittle, and so on. Most naturally occurring elements are metals, and include gold, silver, copper, iron, and cadmium. The properties of each metal may be markedly different than those of others, as seen, for instance in the extremely high reactivity of fran-cium versus the chemical inactivity of gold. Alloys, such as brass and bronze, which exhibit these characteristics are also considered to be metals.
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