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Metals are shiny, solid, and conductive elements. A common example is iron. They contrast with the nonmetals. They are generally found on the left side of the periodic table. Most elements are metals. Some metals are very strong and light, like titanium and aluminum. Others are soft and heavy, like lead. The alkali metals and alkaline earth metals have to be stored in oil because they react with water and air very easily. Most metals are reducing agents.

In astronomy and cosmology, the term "metals" includes any elements other than hydrogen or helium. This is termed metallicity.