The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Explain Metallic Bonding

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Metallic bonding is the third type of bonding you need to know about. 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. Another word used to describe the electrons is "delocalised". Something local is in a definite place, so delocalised means that something isn't in a definite place. The number of delocalised electrons depends on the electron structure of the atom. Atoms of Group 1 metals give of one electron, Group 2 metal atoms give off 2, and so on. In this picture, the Al atoms have each put 3 electrons into the sea of electrons.

The atoms in a metal are held together by electrostatic attraction between the positive metal ions and the delocalised negative electrons. The metal ions are pulled tightly together in a regular repeating close-packed structure. Scientists call structures with regular repeats crystalline. Metal structures are crystalline, as are most ionic substances. The crystalline structure of gold looks like this.

We can explain a lot of the properties of metals by thinking about this model of metallic bonding. The delocalised electrons aren't attached to atoms, so they can move through the metal easily. This makes metals good conductors of electricity and heat, even when they are solid. Ionic compounds do not conduct electricity when they are solid; there are ions, but they cannot move. (Ionic compounds dissolved in water can conduct electricity, because the ions can move freely). The electrostatic bonds between the metal ions and the delocalised 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 combination of strength and malleability means that metals are easy to bend but hard to break. This makes them extremely useful for making things. 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.

We can also explain some of the patterns in properties of different metals by thinking about the sea of electrons. The more electrons each atom delocalises into the sea of electrons, the stronger the forces between the leftover ions. This means that Group 1 metals are much less strong than other metals. The more delocalised electrons there are, the better the electrical conductivity.

Thinking about metals shows why it's so useful to understand the electron structure of atoms. Remember that all metal atoms are ejecting electrons, and that there's nowhere really for the electrons to go. Once you have that picture in your mind, most of the properties of metals make sense.

What kind of bond would you expect these pairs to atoms to have?

Column A

Column B

Al-Fe
metallic
O-O
ionic
Mg-Cl
covalent

Complete this description of the structure and bonding of metals.

Column A

Column B

Al-Fe
metallic
O-O
ionic
Mg-Cl
covalent

Mark these sentences about the properties of metals.

Metals are malleable.

This means that they are easy to break.

Metals have layers of close-packed atoms.

The layers cannot slide over each other easily.

Match these properties with their explanations.

Column A

Column B

Metals are malleable
because there are strong bonds between metal ions
Metals are strong
because electrons are free to move
Metals conduct electricity
because layers of atoms move over each other easil...

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

break

energy

high

strong

Column A

Column B

Metals are malleable
because there are strong bonds between metal ions
Metals are strong
because electrons are free to move
Metals conduct electricity
because layers of atoms move over each other easil...
A scientist measured the melting temperature and the conductivity of three different materials. Which of these is likely to be a metal?
 
Substance Melting point (ºC) Conducts electricity?
A 50 no
B 450 yes
C 600 no

 

A

B

C

Match up these half sentences.

Column A

Column B

Solid copper conducts electricity
because electrons can move easily.
Solid copper oxide cannot conduct electricity
because the copper and oxide ions can move.
Molten copper oxide can conduct electricity
because the copper and oxide ions are fixed.

Pylons like this hold up wires carrying electricity. Both the pylon and the wire are made of metal. Pick the most important property of the metal used for the wire.

strong

good conductor of electricity

dense

high melting point

Pylons like this hold up wires carrying electricity. Both the pylon and the wire are made of metal. Pick the most important property of the metal used for the pylon.

strong

good conductor of electricity

dense

high melting point

A scientist measured the electrical conductivity of two metal samples. One is lithium and the other is aluminium, but they didn't know which is which. The conductivity values were: Metal A 1.08, Metal B 3.50.  What could they work out from this, and how? 

strong

good conductor of electricity

dense

high melting point

  • Question 1

What kind of bond would you expect these pairs to atoms to have?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Al-Fe
metallic
O-O
covalent
Mg-Cl
ionic
EDDIE SAYS
Keep coming back to this idea- the type of bonding depends on whether the atoms are metals or non-metals. Once you are confident with this, everything else becomes a lot simpler.
  • Question 2

Complete this description of the structure and bonding of metals.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The idea of a sea of electrons is useful to imagine; like water in the sea, delocalised electrons can move around easily. It's good to use terms like delocalised correctly; using correct terms shows your detailled knowledge.
  • Question 3

Mark these sentences about the properties of metals.

CORRECT ANSWER
Metals are malleable.
Metals have layers of close-packed atoms.
EDDIE SAYS
"Malleable" means that things can have their shape changed easily, without them breaking. The malleability of metals happens because of the layered structure.
  • Question 4

Match these properties with their explanations.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Metals are malleable
because layers of atoms move over...
Metals are strong
because there are strong bonds be...
Metals conduct electricity
because electrons are free to mov...
EDDIE SAYS
All these properties make sense is you start with the picture of metal ions with electrons flowing between them.
  • Question 5

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

break

energy

high

strong

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The idea of energy breaking bonds between atoms is used a lot in chemistry; the main way to put that energy into a substance is by heating.
  • Question 6
A scientist measured the melting temperature and the conductivity of three different materials. Which of these is likely to be a metal?
 
Substance Melting point (ºC) Conducts electricity?
A 50 no
B 450 yes
C 600 no

 

CORRECT ANSWER
B
EDDIE SAYS
The best clue is that only substance B conducts electricity. It also has a high melting point, which is consistent with being a metal.
  • Question 7

Match up these half sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Solid copper conducts electricity
because electrons can move easily...
Solid copper oxide cannot conduct...
because the copper and oxide ions...
Molten copper oxide can conduct e...
because the copper and oxide ions...
EDDIE SAYS
Metals aren't the only substances containing charged particles. Having charged particles isn't enough to make something conduct electricity; the particles have to be mobile.
  • Question 8

Pylons like this hold up wires carrying electricity. Both the pylon and the wire are made of metal. Pick the most important property of the metal used for the wire.

CORRECT ANSWER
good conductor of electricity
EDDIE SAYS
The job of the wires is to conduct electricity, so the wires need to be good conductors. It helps if they are strong, but that\'s less important.
  • Question 9

Pylons like this hold up wires carrying electricity. Both the pylon and the wire are made of metal. Pick the most important property of the metal used for the pylon.

CORRECT ANSWER
strong
EDDIE SAYS
The job of the pylon is to hold the wires up, so the pylon needs to be strong.
  • Question 10

A scientist measured the electrical conductivity of two metal samples. One is lithium and the other is aluminium, but they didn't know which is which. The conductivity values were: Metal A 1.08, Metal B 3.50.  What could they work out from this, and how? 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The more mobile electrons there are, the better a conductor the metal will be. Lithium has fewer delocalised electrons, because lithium is in Group 1 and aluminium is in Group 3.
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.