Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Moving around of valence electrons of metals

r15h4bh - 25-12-2012 at 22:27

"The valence electrons can move around easily from one atom to another. These mobile electrons carry heat and electricity. Hence metals are good conductors."

How can valence electrons simply move from one atom of the metal to another atom of the metal?! They're talking about when it's not formed a compound right?

D-glucose - 25-12-2012 at 23:38

edit: I was wrong.

[Edited on 26-12-2012 by D-glucose]

Oscilllator - 26-12-2012 at 00:05

Quote: Originally posted by D-glucose  
Hey, I like your enthusiasm for chemistry! But try not to flood the message board too much. research metallic bonding (orbitals also), It'll clear it up. Put simply, metals tend to covalently share electrons in a lattice of atoms allowing electrons to flow freely around the central nucleus.

I'm pretty sure the electrons aren't shared covalently, otherwhise you wouldget a covalent molecular lattice e.g. diamond, quartz.

@r15, yes they are talking about when It isn't in a compound.
The reason the electrons can move between the atoms is because the electrons are only weakly held by the atoms, they can move freely between them.

r15h4bh - 26-12-2012 at 00:08

I know I made a lot of threads, it's just that I've always been weak in Chemistry even though I love it so I have holidays and I'm trying to go a bit back and sort out some basics. I always search the net for answers before asking a question but the net doesn't cater to an individual's level of understanding, so if I go to Wikipedia or something then the complexity of the Wiki's just loses me at the first paragraph :( So I just want to clear things up and if it's above my level then I don't mind leaving it for later as otherwise I'd just be more confused. And I tend to have a lot of doubts :P

So from what I understood, it's like the valence electrons are shared among all the atoms?

D-glucose - 26-12-2012 at 00:18

You're right, oscillator, what was i thinking :(:o any way here is a cool link

platedish29 - 29-12-2012 at 20:27

Just get used to the fact electrons ceases to exist.

Hexavalent - 30-12-2012 at 05:14

In metals, the electrons are delocalised and form 'seas' of electrons. Each electron does not 'belong' to a specific atom. This actually results in metal ions being formed, but they are attracted very strongly towards the free electrons, meaning a great deal of energy is required to break said bond, equating to a (generally) high melting point and boiling point.

These delocalised electrons are free to move around, and thus can conduct an electric current. Equally, as they are free to move around, they can carry kinetic energy, and therefore conduct thermal energy too (by the electrons pounding into one another repeatedly, carrying their energy over the entire 'sea').