Properties of metals

Most metals have high melting points, so they are in the solid state at room temperature (except for mercury). In addition, most metals are:

  • strong
  • hard
  • malleable, so they can be beaten or pressed into shape
  • ductile, so they can be made into wires
  • good conductors of heat and electricity

Metallic structure

Water is made up of simple molecules. However, in metals, large numbers of metal ions are organised in a regular arrangement to make a giant structure.

The diagram shows a simple model of metallic structure. The metal ions are shown as tiny spheres, packed closely together in a regular pattern.

Cube of atoms forming a metallic structure.

The ions in the structure are held together by strong metallic bonds. These bonds are not explained by this model.