Why are metallic compounds good conductors?

1 Answer
May 16, 2018


Well, how do we describe #"metallic bonding....?"#


#"Metallic bonding"# consists of an array of close-packed metal atoms, which each contribute one or two or more electrons to the overall metallic lattice. And the result is the familiar description of metals: #"positive ions in a sea of electrons"#.

The formally positively charged metal nuclei can move with respect to each other WITHOUT disrupting the metallic bond. And this gives rise to typical metallic properties: #"malleability"#, the ability to beaten into a sheet (cf. Latin #"malleus"="hammer"#); and #"ductility"#, the ability to be drawn into a wire.

But the free electrons are delocalized across the entire lattice, and thus they give rise to two other bulk properties: the capacity to conduct electrical charge and heat. Most metals are excellent conductors. The free electrons are competent to conduct both charge and heat....