A question purely for my own curiosity.
I am trying to understand what "holds the atoms in a metal bar" in shape.
A general question about metals, but let's use gold as an example.
Under suitable laboratory conditions
- if we isolated a single atom of gold
- and dropped that onto a plate of gold
Would the atom fuse with the plate ?
Would the valence electrons of the single free atom "attract that atom into a bond with the crystal lattice" ?
I did some searching and found this:
Metallic bond, force that holds atoms together in a metallic substance. Such a solid consists of closely packed atoms. In most cases, the outermost electron shell of each of the metal atoms overlaps with a large number of neighbouring atoms. As a consequence, the valence electrons continually move from one atom to another and are not associated with any specific pair of atoms. In short, the valence electrons in metals, unlike those in covalently bonded substances, are nonlocalized, capable of wandering relatively freely throughout the entire crystal. The atoms that the electrons leave behind become positive ions, and the interaction between such ions and valence electrons gives rise to the cohesive or binding force that holds the metallic crystal together.
I can think of a reason why two gold bars wouldn't fuse together when placed together:
- the irregularity of their surfaces would not permit close enough contact ...
- (ignoring any surface oxidation)
But I'm curious about the case of a "single free atom".