The delocalization of valence electrons in metals leads to the development of a “sea the electrons” around positively charged ions(cations) within the atom. This delocalization is defined using the electron sea model. 

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Ionic Bonding occurs due to the transfer of electrons from one atom to another. Ionic bonds sign up with metals come non-metals. Similarly, covalent bonding takes location when 2 atoms share your valence electrons. This bonding binding non-metals to non-metals. The kind of chemical bond that metals kind with each various other is metallic bonding. The valence electrons within a steel are complimentary to move because of its short electronegativity (low attraction to electrons). These valence electrons room shared by hopeful ions (nuclei). The sharing of electrons renders metallic bonding similar to covalent bonding but these valence electrons will be shared by multiple atoms unlike in covalent bonding wherein electron-sharing wake up only between two atoms. This model, whereby cations are surrounding by a sea the valence electron is referred to as the “Electron Sea Model”. This design was proposed in 1900 by Paul Drude.

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Working of Metallic Bond

The outermost orbitals (s and p) of a metal overlap in which at-least one of the valence electron participating in a metallic link is not mutual with an nearby atom and doesn’t kind an ion as well. Instead, this electrons type an “Electron Sea” where lock are cost-free to relocate from one atom to one more without being associated with any details pair the atoms. In various other words, the valence electrons are delocalized, capable of wandering freely throughout the whole crystal.The atoms that shed electrons end up being positive ions and also the interaction between these ions and also the “electron sea” leads to a binding pressure that holds the metallic crystal together.


Sodium (Na) has actually one valence electron in that is outermost shell(1s²2s²2p⁶3s¹). Metallic sodium has variety of Na⁺ ions which room surrounded by sea that “3s” electron (Na⁺ since it only loses one electron). The sea of electron is mutual by all the sodium cations and neutralizing the hopeful charge.


Sodium has relatively low variety of electrons in the electron sea and therefore the melts easily (at short temperature).

Metallic Bonding in Magnesium: The digital configuration of Magnesium (Mg) is 1s²2s²2p⁶3s². It has two electron in its outermost shell. Both these electrons become delocalized. Together a result, magnesium crystal contains an array of “Mg²⁺ ” ions and the electron sea contains twice the number of electrons than in sodium. Because that this huge electron density and greater size of charge, magnesium’s melting point is higher than the of sodium.

Physical properties of Metals

Electron Sea Model defines the physics properties of steels such as conductivity, ductility, malleability and thermal conductivity.

Conductivity: Due to its free-flowing nature, electron inside a metal can crystal take trip in arbitrarily directions. Since electricity is defined as the movement that charge, metals conduct electricity as result of the existence of “delocalized electrons”. Once an electrical field is applied, this free-flowing electron will move in one direction thereby causing current.


Malleability and Ductility: Malleability of a steel is that ability to deform under tension whereas ductility is the capacity to big under stress. Once a steel is hammered on, the sea of electrons acts like a cushion. Due to this, the ingredient of the steel is not changed. The protons might be rearranged however the “electron sea” keeps the steel intact.


Thermal Conductivity: When warm is used to any part of the metal, the free electrons of that component get large amount of energy and also start to relocate in a zig-zag motion. Thus, the heat energy is transferred to all components of the metal and also thermal conductivity is also high.

Luster: The shining nature of steels is likewise due to the “electron sea” as in once light hits a metal, the photon energy is soaked up by the electrons and also they acquire excited to higher energy levels. Castle return back to their ground states conveniently thereby emitting light in the process. This emissions of light features a shining metallic luster come the metal.

High Melting and also Boiling Points: The attractive force in between metal atoms is quite solid due come the an effective metallic bonding. In-order to rest this force, a big amount of energy is needed. This is the factor why metals have high melting and also boiling points v a couple of exceptions like zinc, cadmium and mercury.

Limitations the the Electron Sea Model

Even though “Electron Sea Model” answers countless properties of metals, some elements like resistance to electrical conductance” and solid state insulators can not be defined by the electron sea model. All these observations from the physical properties the the steels are only qualitative and also cannot be tested. The “Electron Sea Model” concept stands as an oversimplified design of metallic bonding.

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