IB Chemistry SL

Revision Notes

4.1.15 Metallic Bonding

Metallic Bonding

  • Metal atoms are tightly packed together in lattice structures
  • When the metal atoms are in lattice structures, the electrons in their outer shells are free to move throughout the structure
  • The free-moving electrons are called ‘delocalised’ electrons and they are not bound to their atom
  • When the electrons are delocalised, the metal atoms become positively charged
  • The positive charges repel each other and keep the neatly arranged lattice in place
  • There are very strong electrostatic forces between the positive metal centres and the ‘sea’ of delocalised electrons

Chemical Bonding Diagram to show metallic bonding, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

The positive metal centres are suspended in a ‘sea’ of delocalised electrons

Properties of Metals

  • Metallic compounds are malleable
    • When a force is applied, the metal layers can slide
    • The attractive forces between the metal ions and electrons act in all directions
    • So when the layers slide, the metallic bonds are re-formed
    • The lattice is not broken and has changed shape

States of Matter Metals Malleable, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes

  • Metallic compounds are strong and hard
    • Due to the strong attractive forces between the metal ions and delocalised electrons
  • Metals have high melting and boiling points


  • Metals can conduct electricity when in the solid or liquid state
    • As both in the solid and liquid state there are mobile electrons which can freely move around and conduct electricity
  • Since the bonding in metals is non-directional, it does not really matter how the cations are oriented relative to each other
  • The metal cations can be moved around and there will still be delocalised electrons available to hold the cations together

Metallic bonding summary table

Chemical Bonding Table_7, downloadable AS & A Level Chemistry revision notes


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