Solidify your 14–16 students’ understanding of the structure and properties of metals and alloys
Metallic bonding is a type of strong chemical bond that occurs in pure metals and alloys.
Infographic poster, fact sheet and differentiated student worksheet exploring structure and bonding in metals and alloys. Display the poster in your classroom or on a projector. Alternatively, print it and use as a handout.
Use the accompanying activity to assess learners’ understanding of structure and bonding in metals and alloys with true and false, identify-the-error and long-answer questions. The scaffolded student worksheet includes prompts and a structure strip to offer more support for learners.
- Poster as pdf
- Fact sheet as MS Word or pdf
- Unscaffolded student worksheet as MS Word or pdf
- Scaffolded student worksheet as MS Word or pdf
- Teacher guidance and answers as MS Word or pdf
Metals are giant three-dimensional structures where layers of positive metal ions are surrounded by a sea of delocalised outer-shell electrons
The metal ions in the three-dimensional lattice structure are closely packed. This means that metals have a high density
Did you know …?
The chemical formula of a metal is just the symbol for the element as metallic lattices do not contain a fixed number of atoms – eg sodium is represented as Na.
Structure and properties
A large amount of energy is required to overcome metallic bonds, so metals and alloys have high melting and boiling points.
Metals are good electrical conductors because the delocalised electrons are free to move through the structure and carry electrical charge.
The movement of electrons allows thermal energy to pass efficiently through metals, which means they are good thermal conductors too.
Did you know …?
The melting and boiling points of metals are related to the number of outer shell electrons. The greater the charge of the metal ion, the greater the number of delocalised electrons and the stronger the bonds.
Pure metals only contain one type of metal atom, so the atoms are arranged in layers which can slide over one another. This means they are malleable – can be hammered or pressed into shape without breaking or cracking – and ductile, so they can be drawn into wires
Alloys are mixtures of two or more elements where at least one is a metal. Metallic bonds are the strong electrostatic attractions between the positively charged metal ions and the delocalised electrons
In an alloy, the atoms are different sizes which distorts the layered structure. This means greater force is needed to make the layers slide over one another, which makes an alloy harder and stronger than the pure metal
Did you know …?
Aluminium alloys are used to make aircraft, because they’re lightweight and very strong. They are also corrosion resistant due to the ability of aluminium to form a thin protective layer of aluminium oxide.
- Review your learners’ understanding of key ideas relating to bonding, including separate scaffolded worksheets on ionic, covalent and metallic bonding, with our Review my learning worksheets.
- Discover a striking demonstration that’s great for A-level students exploring metallic bonding and/or intermolecular forces from Exhibition Chemistry.
- Use a technique to help learners understand the language used in extended-response questions by exploding an exam-question on structure and bonding.
- Meet Kasia, a laboratory scientist apprentice, who makes lubricants to improve the performance of metal-cutting tools while also studying towards a degree in chemical science.
All illustrations © Dan Bright
Want more posters on bonding?
Try these posters with classroom-ready activities for 14–16 learners:
- PDF, Size 0.27 mb
- PDF, Size 94.64 kb
- Handout | PDF, Size 0.21 mb
- Handout | PDF, Size 0.22 mb
- Handout | PDF, Size 0.18 mb
- Word, Size 0.43 mb
- Editable handout | Word, Size 0.48 mb
- Editable handout | Word, Size 0.49 mb
- Editable handout | Word, Size 0.44 mb