Metallic bond Definition
Metallic bonding is defined as a force of attraction that exists between metal ions and valence electrons. It is all about sharing of various detached electrons between the positive ions where the electrons give a substance its definite structure by acting as a glue. It is not similar to ionic or covalent bonding.
How are metallic bonds formed?
While covalent bonds connect non-metals to nonmetals and ionic bonds connect metals to nonmetals, metallic bonds are responsible for bonding metal atoms. The valence electrons from the s and p orbitals change their positions in the metallic bonds.
Why do metals have a high melting point?
The force of attraction among the metals ions and the displaced electrons are required to be overcome to boil or to melt a metal. Some attractions have to be overcome to melt a metal and all the attractions have to be overcome to boil it. Since these attractive forces are strong enough, the metals have high boiling and melting points.
The metallic bonding exists as a result of electromagnetism and exhibits the electrostatic force of attraction that exists between conduction electrons (in the form of electron cloud) and positively charged metallic ions.
The metallic bonds are responsible for various traits of metals like the strength, ductility, malleability, electricity, luster and heat conduction.
Metals are known to have some electrical conductivity since the electrons move freely. The energy is allowed to pass through the electrons quickly and generates a current. Metals conduct heat due to the free electrons that transfer the energy faster than other substances along with the electrons which are fixed into specific position.
Properties of Metallic Bonds
The shiny luster of metals is due to the existence of misplaced mobile electrons. When the light falls on the surface, the loosely held electrons absorb the light photons. They jump towards the excited state by oscillating at a frequency similar to that of the incident light. The oscillating electrons quickly return to the lower levels of energy by liberating energy and become a source of light radiation.
The electrical conductivity is due to the presence of mobile electrons. When a potential difference is developed across the metal sheets, the free electrons start moving towards the positive electrode, and the electrons traveling from the negative electrode replace these electrons. Hence, the metallic sheet exhibits the flow of electrons from negative to the positive electrode.
The kinetic energy of the electrons in the region where it is heated increases. The reason being the energetic electrons that travel rapidly towards the cooler region and transfer their kinetic energy by colliding with other electrons. Hence, the heat moves from hotter to a cooler place in metals.
Metallic bonds consist of at least one valence electron which is not shared with the neighboring atoms and do not lose electrons to form ions. But the atomic orbitals or the outer energy levels of the metal atoms do overlap and are similar to covalent bonds. Not every metal exhibit metallic bonding. For instance, the mercurous ion Hg22+ makes covalent metal-metal bonds. An alloy is also a solution of metals.
A few non-metals also conduct electricity that includes graphite. Since metals have free electrons and ionic compounds that are dissolved or molten in water and consist of free moving ions.
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