In metallic bonding, what causes a metal to lose its outer electrons and become an ion? I am trying to understand metallic bonding, atoms and ions.

  • $\begingroup$ When a metal looses its outer electrons (at least out of the transition elements region), it looks like a noble gas. And apparently, it gains in stability. $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Aug 26, 2020 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ Then again, the electrons are not quite lost; they are still around. $\endgroup$ Aug 26, 2020 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ If a question is asked on Chemistry SE site, then, in contrary to sites like Quora, it is expected the author elaborates the topic in the question by at least basic own topic review and writes what he/she understands and what is the eventual stumble stone. The "quick questions" without explicitly expressed particular effort are not very welcome, and may be closed. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Aug 26, 2020 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ A metallic bond doesn't really involve ions. Are you talking about an ionic bond? $\endgroup$
    – Zhe
    Aug 26, 2020 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


For any reaction to happen/any bond to be created, the process has to be thermodynamically favourable, meaning the materials involved must acquire a more stable state via losing as much energy it possibly can. It is a fundamental characteristic of any spontaneous process in nature.

Here, while forming a metallic bond, the metal atoms lose their valence shell electrons to form the electronic configuration of a noble gas, which requires energy. After losing the electrons, the cations of the metal form a metal lattice, in which the electrons lost previously float. Now, the interaction between the electrons and the ions help stabilize the entire metal, releasing much energy. Thus released energy more than enough compensates for the required energy. And thus, the energy of the metal reduces, resulting in the formation of metallic bonds.

In short, metallic bond is formed because it is thermodynamically favourable. For more, read https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallic_bonding

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    $\begingroup$ That's a common, but highly incorrect thinking about metallic bonding. In reality there's no ions in there whatsoever. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Aug 26, 2020 at 18:02

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