Metal - Structure and Bonding

Structure and Bonding

Metals typically consist of close-packed atoms, meaning that the atoms are arranged like closely packed spheres. Two packing motifs are common, one being body-centered cubic wherein each metal atom is surrounded by eight equivalent atoms. The other main motif is face-centered cubic where the metal atoms are surrounded by six neighboring atoms. Several metals adopt both structures, depending on the temperature.

In a metal, atoms readily lose electrons to form positive ions (cations). Those ions are surrounded by de-localized electrons, which are responsible for the conductivity. The solid thus produced is held together by electrostatic interactions between the ions and the electron cloud, which are called metallic bonds.

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