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Properties of Metallic Bonds

Metals are distinguished from other solid types sharply by various set of physical properties out of which the high level of electrical and thermal conductivity as well as optical opacity are the most prominent ones.

About 75% of all known elements are metallic in character and yet the study of metals get the least importance as most of alloys do not display the constancy of composition characteristics of chemical compounds and even when these show some sort of constancy the principles of chemical valency.

Over the years the interatomic binding in metals which helps us in understanding many of the physical properties of these elements as well as the alloy systems which helps in correlating the metallic bonding with those of ionic and covalent bonds.

In metals each of the atoms tends to lose all its valence electrons and thus becomes a positively charged ion. These valence electrons form an electron gas or cloud throughout the space occupied by the atoms.

The valence electrons move freely within the crystal due to the influence of other atoms and are not bonded to individual atoms. Metallic bonds are formed while sharing a variable number of atoms. These types of bonds are usually found in elements with small number of valence electrons. These can form electron clouds easily as they are held loosely in their atoms.

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Properties of Metallic Bonds Ionic and Covalent

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 Metallic bond 
 Covalent bond 
  Ionic bond  
These exists due the electrostatic forces which exists between the electron cloud and the positive  ions between the same or different metals This exists due to electrostatic force of attraction between atoms which share electron pairs to form a covalent bond This exists due to the electrostatic force of attraction between positive and negative ions of different elements
 These are formed when the valence electrons separates from their parent atom and form a pool of cloud of electrons. The force which binds these cloud of electron pool to the positive ions of the metals are responsible for metallic bonds These are formed due to the sharing of electrons between the atoms of same or different elements  These are formed when one of the participating atom loses electrons from its valence shell to the other which accepts these electrons and finally ions are formed which attract each other to form the ionic bond
 Metallic solids show very high electrical and thermal conduction  Covalent solids have low electrical and thermal conductivity  These ionic solids have very low electrical and thermal conduction
 Metallic solids have crystalline structure but at the same time are soft in nature due to the presence of cloud of electrons which are mobile in nature  The covalent solids have low hardness except a few like diamonds or silicon  The ionic solids have high hardness due the presence of crystalline structure
 Metallic solids are malleable and ductile as the electrons which are responsible for metallic bonds are always mobile and hence are not giving any static forms  Covalent bonds are formed due to sharing of electrons and hence are not malleable or ductile  Ionic solids are not malleable or ductile as the electrons are not mobile like metals
 Metallic solids have relatively lower melting and boiling temperatures as the electrons in electron cloud transfer the heat energy quicker than ionic forms  Covalent bonds are relatively lower in melting and boiling points or temperatures than ionic forms  The ionic solid forms have high melting and boiling temperatures as the strong electrostatic forces do not allow the transferring heat energy quickly
 These type of compounds   exists only in solids forms  These compounds could exists in solids, liquids or even in gaseous forms  These compounds could exists only in solid forms
Metallic compounds could never be dissolved in water or organic compounds  Covalent compounds could be dissolved in organic solvents only  Ionic solids are soluble in inorganic solvents

Chemical Properties of Metallic Bonds

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Pauling made an attempt to describe the properties of metals in terms of electron pair bonding between adjacent atoms.

The theory makes use of the nine stable outer orbitals of the transition metal atom or five of ‘d’ one of ‘s’ and three of ‘p’ orbitals which is basically a contrast to the traditional band theory which basically ignores the ‘p’ orbitals.

Pauling put the metallic bonding to the overlap of ‘dsp’ hybrid orbitals. Metallic bonds are quite different from any normal chemical compounds.
  • High electrical conductivity of metals shows that some valence shell electrons are able to migrate freely through the lattice of the metal
  • The electronic arrangement in metal is a resonance hybrid of all possible bonding structures and this resonance differs from normal resonance concept
  • The excess orbitals were termed as metallic orbitals and Pauling considered them to be important feature of metallic bonding
  • The valence bond theory of metals is very important in the sense that this enables us to understand the qualitative properties of the metals
  • In each of the elements of second and third periods the orbitals available for bond formation are limited to four : one of ‘s’ and three of ‘p’ in order to make sure that four or more electrons are present which makes it possible for all orbitals to be filled by stable groups of electrons
The chemical properties depend upon these factors in metals and hence the metallic bonds are different and unque compared to either ionic or covalent bonds.

Properties of Metallic Bonds Soluble

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Metallic solids are not soluble in any solvent as only ionic solids in inorganic solvents and covalent compounds in organic solvents are possible. Solubility of any solids depends upon two major factors, the polarity of solvent and the amount of energy to break the intermolecular forces. The solubility of metallic solids is not possible due to the unavailability polar ions and it takes a lot of energy to break the metallic bonds and hence is not soluble in any solvent.

3 Properties of Metallic Bonds

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  • Metallic bond is responsible for maintaining the status quo between the atoms in metals and alloys.
  • Metallic bond is weak as compared to covalent and ionic bonds but are relatively stronger than van der waal bonding
  • Metallic bonds in solids exhibit the crystalline structure

5 Properties of Metallic Bonds

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  • Metallic bonds are non-directional in nature
  • Metallic bonds have low melting point and low boiling point as compared to ionic and covalent bond solids due to weak bond character
  • The conductivity is high in both thermal and electrical forms as they have large free electron cloud
  • The metallic solids are opaque to passing light as the free electrons in the cloud absorbs the incoming light
  • Solubility of metallic solids is low as polarity is absent
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