Metallic structures

Metals are giant lattices of positive ions arranged in regular layers, with delocalised electrons free to move throughout the structure. Their properties include:

  • high melting and boiling points. High temperatures are required to break strong metallic bonds.
  • good electrical conductivity. Metal’s delocalised electrons can move and carry charge.
  • malleable and ductile. Metal’s layers of ions can slide over each other, but are still held together by the delocalised electrons. This means metal is malleable (it can be hammered into shape) and ductile(it can be drawn out into wires).


An alloy is a mixture of two or more elements, at least one of which is a metal. The mixture has metallic properties.