Is Fluorine a Metal? (+ 3 Surprising Things to Know)

No, fluorine is not a metal. It is a nonmetal element located in Group 17 on the periodic table. 1 Fluorine exhibits properties that are characteristic of nonmetals, such as low melting and boiling points, poor conductivity, and a tendency to gain electrons to form negative ions. 2

Well, this was just a simple answer. But there are few more things to know about this topic which will make your concept super clear.

So let’s dive right into it.

Key Takeaways: Is fluorine a metal?

  • Fluorine is a nonmetal, not a metal.
  • Fluorine is the most reactive nonmetal and has a high electronegativity.
  • Fluorine is different from other nonmetals in several ways, including its oxidizing power, diatomic nature, toxicity, and availability.

Why is fluorine a nonmetal?

Fluorine is considered a nonmetal because of its physical and chemical properties. Nonmetals are elements that lack metallic characteristics such as luster, malleability, ductility, and electrical conductivity. Fluorine has no metallic luster and is a poor conductor of electricity. 

Furthermore, fluorine has a high electronegativity, which means it has a strong tendency to attract electrons. 3 This property makes fluorine highly reactive, and it readily forms compounds with other elements. Fluorine reacts with most other elements, including metals, to form ionic or covalent compounds. 4

Additionally, fluorine is located on the right side of the periodic table, along with other nonmetals like oxygen, nitrogen, and chlorine. It has a small atomic size, high ionization energy, and high electron affinity, all of which are typical properties of nonmetals.

Therefore, based on its physical and chemical properties and its location on the periodic table, fluorine is classified as a nonmetal.

Properties of fluorine that classify it as a nonmetal

Here are the properties of fluorine that classify it as a nonmetal.

  • Lack of metallic luster: Unlike metals, fluorine is a gas at room temperature and pressure and it has a pale yellow appearance and does not reflect light in the same way that metals do.
  • Poor electrical conductivity: Fluorine is a nonmetal and is a poor conductor of electricity. Unlike metals, which readily conduct electricity, nonmetals generally do not conduct electricity well. 5
  • High electronegativity: Fluorine has the highest electronegativity of all the elements, which means that it has a strong tendency to attract electrons towards itself.
  • Small atomic size: Fluorine has a relatively small atomic size compared to metals, which generally have larger atomic sizes.
  • High ionization energy: Fluorine has a high ionization energy, which means that it requires a large amount of energy to remove an electron from a fluorine atom. 6
  • High electron affinity: Fluorine also has a high electron affinity, meaning that it has a strong tendency to attract additional electrons to itself.
  • Reactivity: Fluorine is highly reactive and readily forms compounds with other elements. This property is typical of nonmetals, which tend to react readily with other elements to form compounds. 7

How is fluorine different from other nonmetals?

Fluorine is different from other nonmetals in several ways:

  • Electronegativity: Fluorine has the highest electronegativity of all elements, which means it has a stronger tendency to attract electrons than other nonmetals.
  • Reactivity: Fluorine is the most reactive nonmetal, readily reacting with most elements, including noble gases and even some metals, to form compounds.
  • Oxidizing power: Fluorine has a very high oxidizing power, which means it readily accepts electrons from other elements, leading to the oxidation of these elements. This makes fluorine a powerful oxidizing agent.
  • Diatomic nature: Fluorine exists as a diatomic gas in its natural state, meaning it consists of two fluorine atoms bonded together. Other nonmetals, such as sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen, exist as diatomic molecules only under certain conditions. 8
  • Toxicity: Fluorine is highly toxic and can cause severe burns and respiratory problems when inhaled. 9 10 Other nonmetals, such as nitrogen and oxygen, are essential to life and are not toxic.
  • Availability: Fluorine is relatively rare in nature and is only found in certain minerals, while other nonmetals, such as nitrogen and oxygen, are abundant in the Earth’s atmosphere and are easily obtained.

These differences make fluorine a unique nonmetal with its own set of chemical and physical properties.

Further reading

Is Fluorine a Gas?
Is Germanium a Metal, Nonmetal or Metalloid?
Is Nitrogen Flammable?
Why is Nitrogen Diatomic?
Why is Fluorine Diatomic? 

About author

Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. He is a founder of Pediabay and is passionate about helping students through his easily digestible explanations.

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  1. It’s Elemental – The Element Fluorine. (n.d.). It’s Elemental – the Element Fluorine.
  2. Fluorine | Uses, Properties, & Facts. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica.
  3. Tantardini, C., & Oganov, A. R. (2021, April 7). Thermochemical electronegativities of the elements. Nature Communications, 12(1).
  4. Fluorine compounds – Wikipedia. (2011, July 26). Fluorine Compounds – Wikipedia.
  5. Foundation, C. (2016, August 26). Nonmetals ( Read ) | Chemistry. Nonmetals ( Read ) | Chemistry | CK-12 Foundation.
  6. Boudreaux, K. A. (n.d.). The Parts of the Periodic Table. The Parts of the Periodic Table.
  7. and Patrick Pröhm, S. R. (2019, September 6). Fluorine: The Most Reactive And Indispensable Chemical Element In Our Daily Lives – De Gruyter Conversations. De Gruyter Conversations.
  8. Boudreaux, K. A. (n.d.). The Parts of the Periodic Table. The Parts of the Periodic Table.
  10. Timperley, C. M. (2000). Highly-toxic fluorine compounds. Fluorine Chemistry at the Millennium, 499–538.

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