difference between metal oxide and non-metal oxide

Metallic oxides are basic . react with acid to form salt . react with water to form base 
CaO + H2------>Ca(OH)2 

non metallic oxides are acidic. reacts with wter to form acids 
N2O5 +H2O----->2HNO3

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Metal and non-metals oxides

Reaction with oxygen

Remember that metals react with oxygen in the air to produce metal oxides, like magnesium oxide.

Non-metals react with oxygen in the air to produce non-metal oxides. Here are two examples for the non-metals carbon and sulphur.


Carbon burns in air to form carbon dioxide:

carbon + oxygen → carbon dioxide


Sulphur burns in air to form sulphur dioxide:

sulphur + oxygen → sulphur dioxide


Non-metal oxides such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are responsible for acid rain. They dissolve in the water in the clouds to form acidic solutions. Acid rain damages rocks and buildings, and harms wildlife.

Differences between metal oxides and non-metal oxides

There are some important differences between the physical and chemical properties of metal oxides and non-metal oxides. The table shows some of these differences.

Metal oxidesNon-metal oxidessolids at room temperatureusually gases at room temperaturebases – if they dissolve they form alkaline solutionsdissolve in water to form acidic solutions
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