CIE IGCSE Chemistry

Revision Notes

3.4.2 Metallic Bonding

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Electrical Conductivity & Malleability of Metals

  • Metal atoms are held together strongly by metallic bonding
  • Within the metal lattice, the atoms lose their valence electrons and become positively charged
  • The valence electrons no longer belong to any metal atom and are said to be delocalised
  • They move freely between the positive metal ions like a sea of electrons
  • Metallic bonds are strong and are a result of the attraction between the positive metal ions and the negatively charged delocalised electrons


Structure & bonding in a metal, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry & Physics revision notesDiagram showing metallic lattice structure with delocalised electrons


Link between metallic bonding and the properties of metals

  • Metals have high melting and boiling points
    • There are many strong metallic bonds in giant metallic structures
    • A lot of heat energy is needed to overcome forces and break these bonds
  • Metals conduct electricity
    • There are free electrons available to move and carry charge
    • Electrons entering one end of the metal cause a delocalised electron to displace itself from the other end
    • Hence electrons can flow so electricity is conducted
  • Metals are malleable and ductile
    • Layers of positive ions can slide over one another and take up different positions
    • Metallic bonding is not disrupted as the valence electrons do not belong to any particular metal atom so the delocalised electrons will move with them
    • Metallic bonds are thus not broken and as a result metals are strong but flexible
    • They can be hammered and bent into different shapes without breaking

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Morgan’s passion for the Periodic Table begun on his 10th birthday when he received his first Chemistry set. After studying the subject at university he went on to become a fully fledged Chemistry teacher, and now works in an international school in Madrid! In his spare time he helps create our fantastic resources to help you ace your exams.

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