AQA A Level Chemistry

Revision Notes

1.4.9 Properties of Metallic Substances

Metallic Lattice Structures

  • Metals form giant metallic lattices in which the metal ions are surrounded by a ‘sea’ of delocalised electrons
  • The metal ions are often packed in hexagonal layers or in a cubic arrangement
  • This layered structure with the delocalised electrons gives a metal its key properties


States of Matter Metallic Lattice, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

Layers of copper ions (the delocalised electrons are not shown in the diagram)


  • If other atoms are added to the metal structure, such as carbon atoms, this creates an alloy
  • Alloys are much stronger than pure metals, because the other atoms stop the layers of metal ions sliding over each other easily
  • The strength of the metallic attraction can be increased by:
    • Increasing the number of delocalised electrons per metal atom
    • Increasing the positive charges on the metal centres in the lattice
    • Decreasing the size of the metal ions
  • Due to the delocalised ‘sea’ of electrons, metallic structures have some characteristic properties shown below:

Metallic Bonding Properties Table 

Physical _ Chemical Properties of Metals table, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notes

Exam Tip

You should be able to draw the structure of a metal with positive ions in layers, and the delocalised electrons surrounding the ions

If drawing the structure of a metal in the exam, make sure to include labels for metal ion and delocalised electrons


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