Is Chlorine a Metal or Nonmetal?

Chlorine is a chemical element with the symbol Cl and atomic number 17. It is a highly reactive and corrosive nonmetal that belongs to the halogen group on the periodic table. In this article, we will explore the properties of chlorine and discuss why it is classified as a nonmetal.

The Periodic Table and Classification of Elements

The periodic table is a tabular arrangement of chemical elements, organized based on their atomic number, electron configuration, and recurring chemical properties. It is divided into several blocks, including s, p, d, and f blocks, which represent different types of elements.

Elements on the left side of the periodic table are typically metals, while those on the right side are nonmetals. The elements in the middle are known as metalloids, which exhibit properties of both metals and nonmetals.

Properties of Chlorine

Chlorine is a pale yellow-green gas at room temperature and pressure. It is highly reactive and forms compounds with many other elements. Here are some key properties of chlorine:

  • Atomic Number: Chlorine has an atomic number of 17, indicating that it has 17 protons in its nucleus.
  • Atomic Mass: The atomic mass of chlorine is approximately 35.45 atomic mass units.
  • Electron Configuration: The electron configuration of chlorine is 2-8-7, meaning it has two electrons in the first energy level, eight electrons in the second energy level, and seven electrons in the third energy level.
  • Valence Electrons: Chlorine has seven valence electrons, which are the electrons in the outermost energy level of an atom. This makes chlorine highly reactive.
  • Physical State: Chlorine is a gas at room temperature and pressure. It has a pungent odor and is toxic to humans.
  • Reactivity: Chlorine is a highly reactive element and readily forms compounds with other elements. It is a strong oxidizing agent and can react with metals, nonmetals, and metalloids.

Why Chlorine is Classified as a Nonmetal

Chlorine is classified as a nonmetal due to its physical and chemical properties. Nonmetals generally have the following characteristics:

  • Poor Conductivity: Nonmetals are generally poor conductors of heat and electricity. Chlorine, as a nonmetal, does not conduct electricity or heat well.
  • Brittle: Nonmetals are often brittle and break easily when subjected to stress. Chlorine, in its gaseous state, does not exhibit brittleness, but it can form brittle compounds with other elements.
  • Low Melting and Boiling Points: Nonmetals generally have low melting and boiling points compared to metals. Chlorine has a boiling point of -34.04 degrees Celsius and a melting point of -101.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Gain Electrons: Nonmetals tend to gain electrons to achieve a stable electron configuration. Chlorine, with its seven valence electrons, readily gains one electron to achieve a stable configuration of eight electrons in its outermost energy level.

Based on these characteristics, chlorine exhibits properties that are consistent with those of nonmetals. Its poor conductivity, low melting and boiling points, and tendency to gain electrons all contribute to its classification as a nonmetal.

Applications of Chlorine

Chlorine has a wide range of applications in various industries. Some of the key applications of chlorine include:

  • Water Treatment: Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect water and kill bacteria and other microorganisms. It is added to public water supplies and swimming pools to ensure the water is safe for consumption and recreational use.
  • Production of PVC: Chlorine is a key component in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a versatile plastic used in pipes, window frames, flooring, and other applications.
  • Chemical Manufacturing: Chlorine is used in the production of a wide range of chemicals, including solvents, pesticides, dyes, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Paper and Pulp Industry: Chlorine compounds are used in the bleaching process of paper and pulp production.
  • Swimming Pool Disinfection: Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect swimming pools and maintain water quality.


Chlorine is a nonmetal that belongs to the halogen group on the periodic table. It is a highly reactive element with a pale yellow-green color. Chlorine exhibits properties consistent with those of nonmetals, including poor conductivity, low melting and boiling points, and a tendency to gain electrons. Its classification as a nonmetal is based on these characteristics. Chlorine finds numerous applications in water treatment, chemical manufacturing, PVC production, and the paper and pulp industry.


1. Is chlorine a metal or nonmetal?

Chlorine is classified as a nonmetal.

2. What are the properties of chlorine?

Chlorine is a highly reactive gas with a pale yellow-green color. It has an atomic number of 17, atomic mass of approximately 35.45 atomic mass units, and electron configuration of 2-8-7. Chlorine is a poor conductor of heat and electricity, has low melting and boiling points, and tends to gain electrons.

3. Why is chlorine classified as a nonmetal?

Chlorine is classified as a nonmetal due to its poor conductivity, low melting and boiling points, and tendency to gain electrons.

4. What are the applications of chlorine?

Chlorine is used in water treatment, PVC production, chemical manufacturing, the paper and pulp industry, and swimming pool disinfection.

5. Can chlorine form compounds with other elements?

Yes, chlorine is highly reactive and readily forms compounds with other elements.

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