How do electrons behave in metals? Do metals have a negative charge?

1 Answer
Feb 4, 2016

Bulk metals are NEUTRAL; therefore their electric charge must also be neutral, and thus composed of equal number of electrons and protons, fundamental, positively charged, nuclear particles.


However, the classic representation of metals is of #"positive ions in a sea of electrons"#. Metals are thus conceived to be elements whose valence electrons are somewhat delocalized, with each metal contributing 1 or 2 or more electrons to the overall lattice structure.

Because the individual atoms have donated some of their valence electrons, the nuclear core has a positive charge. The delocalized electrons are not associated with any given nucleus, and are thus free to move over the metallic lattice. This delocalized electron glue is responsible for the common metallic properties: malleability; ductility; conductivity to electricity and heat. In this respect metals are non-molecular species, with no discrete metallic molecules.

What does "malleable", and "ductile" mean, and why should these properties arise from metallic bonding?