Since in metallic bonding, metals form ions and are surrounded by delocalized electrons, does that mean metal atoms always react in this ionised state? Can metal atoms lose valence electrons (like $\ce{Na}$ to $\ce{Na+}$) in chemical reactions, when they have already lost all their valence electrons in metallic bonding?


1 Answer 1


When the metal reacts to form an ionic compound, the electrons transferred from the metal actually come from the metallic bonding rather than from the ions proper. The metal ions are in effect spectators, while the metallic bonding between them is broken in favor of forming stronger ionic bonds. Breaking bonds to make stronger bonds is no different from reactions between nonmetallic substances.

  • $\begingroup$ While this may be attractive rationalisation, bonds cannot be treated as separate entities. In reality, there are no ions or free electrons in metals. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Nov 4, 2017 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Is the O.P. ready for such subtlety? $\endgroup$ Nov 4, 2017 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron If there are no free electrons in metals,then how do it forms a delocalized electron cloud??? $\endgroup$
    – user158166
    Nov 5, 2017 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it seems he isn't, but posts should be useful for as broad group of users as possible. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Nov 5, 2017 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ This is more or less accurate: chemistry.stackexchange.com/a/8082/9961 $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Nov 5, 2017 at 2:33

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