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Understand Metallic Bonding

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

If you have a metal atom and a non-metal atom, they bond by ionic bonding. If you have two non-metal atoms, they bond by covalent bonding. What happens if both atoms are metals?
The third type of bonding you need to know about is called metallic bonding. You can guess from the name that it's the type of bonding that happens between two metallic atoms. All the atoms in a piece of metal need to lose electrons, none will take any more electrons. The unwanted electrons move between the atoms; scientists talk about a "sea of electrons" flowing between the metal ions.

The atoms in a metal are held together by electrostatic attraction between the positive metal ions and the sea of negative electrons. The metal ions are pulled tightly together in a regular repeating close-packed structure. The atomic structure of gold looks like this.

We can explain a lot of the properties of metals by thinking about this model of metallic bonding. Because the electrons in the sea aren't attached to atoms, they can move through the metal easily. This makes metals good conductors of electricity and heat. The electrostatic bonds between the metal ions and the electrons are hard to break, so metals are strong. However, it's easier to move layers of atoms over each other. This means that metals can easily be bent into new shapes; scientists call this being malleable. The strength of the metallic bonds also explains why metals have high melting and boiling temperatures; we need to add a lot of energy to the metal to break the bonds between the metal ions.

There are three types of bonding you need to know. To work out which one you have, decide whether the atoms are metals or non-metals. In the end, it all depends on what the electron shells are doing, which is why they are so important.

What type of bonding happens between a metal and a non-metal?

ionic

covalent

metallic

What type of bonding happens between two metal atoms?

ionic

covalent

metallic

What do we call the electrons moving between the metal ions? Complete this phrase.

ionic

covalent

metallic

Match up the parts of the metal structure with their charge.

Column A

Column B

positive
metal ions
negative
electrons

Which words from this list describe the structure of metals? 

regular

irregular

repeating

loose

close-packed

malleable

Which of these phrases explains what a conductor is?

It makes electricity

Electricity passes through it easily

It absorbs electricity

Why are metals good conductors of electricity?

Electrons can move easily

There are too many electrons

The electrons have lots of energy

Why do metals have a high melting temperature? Use these words to fill the gaps:

break

energy

high

strong

Electrons can move easily

There are too many electrons

The electrons have lots of energy

Which words from this list describe the properties of metals?

strong

weak

regular

conducts electricity

malleable

brittle

Underline the sentence which explains why metals are malleable.

Metals have a close-packed structure. Atoms in metals are arranged in layers. The bonding between the atoms is metallic. Metal ions are surrounded by a sea of electrons.
  • Question 1

What type of bonding happens between a metal and a non-metal?

CORRECT ANSWER
ionic
EDDIE SAYS
If you're not sure about this, have a look at the activity on ionic bonding. When you think about structures and properties, start by thinking about the bond type; everything follows from that.
  • Question 2

What type of bonding happens between two metal atoms?

CORRECT ANSWER
metallic
EDDIE SAYS
Metal-metal bonds are metallic; covalent bonds happen between pairs of non-metal atoms.
  • Question 3

What do we call the electrons moving between the metal ions? Complete this phrase.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The idea is that the electrons are moving around freely, like water in the sea.
  • Question 4

Match up the parts of the metal structure with their charge.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

positive
metal ions
negative
electrons
EDDIE SAYS
The atom starts off neutral overall. If you remove some negatively charged electrons, the remaining ion must be positive.
  • Question 5

Which words from this list describe the structure of metals? 

CORRECT ANSWER
regular
repeating
close-packed
EDDIE SAYS
The structure of metals is repeated regularly, and the atoms are close-packed. Metals are malleable, but that's what they are like, not how the atoms are arranged.
  • Question 6

Which of these phrases explains what a conductor is?

CORRECT ANSWER
Electricity passes through it easily
EDDIE SAYS
Conductors don't make electricity, but they do allow electricity to pass easily.
  • Question 7

Why are metals good conductors of electricity?

CORRECT ANSWER
Electrons can move easily
EDDIE SAYS
The thing that makes metals different to other materials is that some of the electrons form a "sea" flowing easily between the atoms.
  • Question 8

Why do metals have a high melting temperature? Use these words to fill the gaps:

break

energy

high

strong

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This idea comes up a lot, not just in metallic bonding. If we need to break a chemical bond, we need to put energy in, and we can do this by increasing temperature.
  • Question 9

Which words from this list describe the properties of metals?

CORRECT ANSWER
strong
conducts electricity
malleable
EDDIE SAYS
Metals are strong, malleable and good conductors of electricity. They're not brittle, they don't "break easily".
  • Question 10

Underline the sentence which explains why metals are malleable.

CORRECT ANSWER
Metals have a close-packed structure. Atoms in metals are arranged in layers. The bonding between the atoms is metallic. Metal ions are surrounded by a sea of electrons.
EDDIE SAYS
The layers in metal structures explain why metals are malleable, because they can slide over each other quite easily.
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