What is the electron sea model of metals?

1 Answer
Mar 16, 2018

The mental image of electrons forming a flowing surface on metals.


The electron sea model pictures the electrons on the surface of a metal being free to move from one atom to another.

Due to the very low electronegativity of most metals the electrons are not held tightly by the metallic atoms.

In a covalent bond the metallic atom becomes more stable by allowing the valance electron density to be mainly transferred to another atom, with a higher electronegativity.

In metallic bonding there are no atoms with higher electronegativities for the electron density to be transferred to. This means that in metallic bonding for the metal atom to become more stable it must release its electron density without the electrons being transferred to another atom. This leaves the electrons free to move between atoms without being bonded to any particular atom.

These "free" electrons form the so called "sea of electrons" The model of freely moving electrons explains the properties of electric conductivity, mailability, luster, and heat conductivity in metals

The model or theory of a " sea of electrons" helps scientist to picture the behavior of electrons in metallic bonding.