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Elementary Science Education

Metallic Bonding

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      Bernard Nebel

      Have kids consider metals, e.g., iron, copper, aluminum, and their properties. Do they behave like minerals? Do they behave like organic materials (Think of wood, leather, feathers, etc.? Indeed, the unique properties of metals are given by a unique kind of bonding–metallic bonding. In metallic bonding electrons of the metal atoms are neither lost, gained, nor specifically shared. Instead, the electrons form what may be termed an “electron sea” in which they are free to move from one atom to another. Have students discuss how this kind of bonding facilitates the properties of metals, e.g., moldability, conduction of electricity. Metallic bonding is pictured in the following animation:

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