Metallic bonding

  • Metals are held together in a lattice of positive ions and a sea of delocalised electrons.
  • The strength of the bond depends on the size of the positive ion and the way in which they are organised in the lattice.
  • Going across the periodic table, metals usually get stronger, as charge increases and the number of electrons too.
  • Going down, metals get weaker, as charge and number of electrons in the sea stay the same but atoms get larger, and so more surface area to act upon.

metallic bonding

Property Explanation
Good conductor of heat and electricity Mobile, delocalised electrons transfer charge and heat energy well
Malleability and ductility Layers of positive ions can slip over one another without disrupting the metallic bonding; metallic bonding is non-directional
Relatively high density Positive ions packed tightly in a metal lattice
High melting and boiling points Strong metallic bonding exists throughout the entire lattice
Shiny when cut or cleaned
Silver in colour (mostly)


  • Alloys are made by mixing metals together. They are usually less prone to bending, but more brittle, since the larger atoms are interspersed with the smaller ones, making it hard for the ions to slide over each other.
  • Electrostatic bonding is non directional
  • Metallic bonding occurs between two substances with low electronegativities.
  • Metals want to lose electrons, but since there are only metal ions, the electrons are delocalised.

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