Metallic bonding and structure

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Metallic bonding and structure

Metallic bonding is the electrostatic attraction between positive metal ions and delocalised electrons

In a giant metallic lattice

  • the delocalised electrons are spread throughout the metallic structure
  • the electrons are able to move within the structure
  • over the whole structure, the charges must balance

A giant metallic lattice is often referred to as a lattice of positive ions fixed in position and surrounded by a sea of electrons. The electrons are delocalised and can move. This model helps us understand the electrical conductivity of metals.

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Metallic bonding and structure

Properties of giant metallic lattices
High melting and boiling points

  • The electrons are free to move throughout the structure, but the positive ions remain where they are.
  • The attraction between the positive ions and negative delocalised electrons is strong.
  • High temperatures are needed to break the metallic bonds and dislodge the ions from their rigid poistions within the lattice

Good electrical conductivity
The delocalised electrons can move freely anywhere within the metallic latticeThis allows the metal to conduct electricity, even in solid state.

Ductile and malleable
Delocalised electrons can move, the metallic structure has a degree of give, which allows atoms or layers to slide past each other.  

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