One major feature that distinguishes Metals from the other groups of elements in the periodic table is the special bonding which they form with each other called the Metallic Bond. This special bond determines the physical and chemical characteristics of metals.
Metals are one of the widely used elements and are essential materials in production and manufacturing industries due to their unique properties and vast spectrum of applications. In this article we are going to glide through the world of metals and discover more about what makes them special, the Metallic Bonding.
The Basics of Metallic Bonding: Electrons on the Move
The Magic of metallic bonding lies in the ability of a group of atoms to collectively share electrons without transfer of electrons or any atom losing or gaining electrons this phenomena is something no other element or group of elements outside metals possesses. They form a cloud of electrons usually referred to by most scientists as a "sea of electrons".
When two or more metallic atoms bond to form a sea of electrons, the electrons are allowed to move freely around the metallic lattice and linked to any specific atom. The free mobility of atoms in this type of bonding is responsible for most of the unique properties manifested by Metals.
Properties Arising from Metallic Bonding:
The Electrical conductivity of metals is one major reason why metals are one of the most widely used elements in the wall. Metals owe their electrical conductivity to the free flow I'd electric charge due to the high electron mobility in their lattice structure. The electrical conductivity in metals has paved the way to its wide adoption in electrical wiring of homes and integration into electronic appliances.
MalleabilityMalleability is the ability of materials to be hammered and fabricated into thin sheets. Metals are some of the materials that possess this physical quality. They owe their malleability to the lubrication that occurs between their atoms to the sea of electrons that has been formed.
Materials that can be drawn into thin wires are said to be ductile. Metals are very ductile materials. The uniform distribution of electron clouds makes it possible for metals to be ductile while maintaining their electrical conductivity and strength.
The shiny look of metals (lustre) in the presence of light is as a result of the reflection and refraction of light that occurs when light comes in contact with the free electrons that exist in the electron sea preThesent in the lattice structure of metals.
Due to the unique bonding that metals possess, Scientists have been able to produce different materials that possess different desirable features by combining at least a metal with other elements.
When a metal is combined with one or more elements (can also include a metal), they form a new material or substance called an Alloy. Some of the common alloys of metals that posses unique properties includes but not limited to;
Brass, a product of Copper and Zinc
Stainless steel, a product of Iron, Chromium and Nickel
ConclusionMetals are very special elements and are one of the most used elements on earth. They possess interesting properties like electrical conductivity, malleability and ductility which makes them ideal materials to be used in certain applications in Material Technology such as electrical wiring, electronics and also machine parts.
All of these desirable features that we find in metals are as a result of the special bonding that occurs in metals called Metallic bonds. You've been giving a tour into the world of metals, stay tuned as we keep exploring Chemistry.