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Bonding In Metals

Metals exhibit very distinct properties. These properties cannot be explained in terms of normal ionic or covalent bonding and therefore bonding in metals must involve some special idea. Any theory of bonding in metals must be able to explain particularly two characteristic properties of metals.

(i)    Their high electrical and thermal conductivity.
(ii)    Each atom in a metallic crystal has a very high coordination number i.e., each atom is surrounded by a large number of other atoms.

The first property suggests that electrons in metals are relatively free to move under the influence of an applied potential. The second property suggests that bonding between one atom in metal and its neighbors cannot be normal electron-pair links (like in a normal covalent bond) with metals exhibiting high coordination numbers. There is no simple way in which an atom can form eight or twelve simultaneous electron-pair bonds.

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