Why are metals good conductors of heat and electricity? Which metal conducts electricity best?Structure of metalThe structure of pure metals is simple to describe because the atoms that make up these metals can be thought of as identical perfect spheres. More specifically, the metallic structure consists of ‘aligned positive ions’ (cations) in a “sea” of partitioned electrons. This means that electrons are free to move through the structure and give rise to properties such as electrical conductivity.What are the different types of bonds?Covalent bondA covalent bond is a bond formed when two atoms share electrons. Examples of compounds with covalent bonds are water, sugar, and carbon dioxide.Ionic bondingAn ionic bond is the complete transfer of valence electron(s) between a metal and a non-metal. This results in two ions with opposite charges attracting each other. In ionic bonding, metals lose electrons to become positively charged cations, while nonmetals gain electrons to become negatively charged anions. An example of an ionic bond is a salt (NaCl).Metal linkMetallic bonding is the result of electrostatic attraction that occurs between conduction electrons (in the form of electron-dividing electron clouds) and positively charged metal ions. It can be described as the sharing of free electrons between a crystal lattice of positively charged ions (cations). Metallic bonding accounts for many of the physical properties of metals, such as strength, ductility, thermal and electrical resistance and electrical conductivity, transparency, and luster.Moving electrons are divided in metals –Read more: Should Cats Wear Bells On Their Collars? | The leading Q&AIt is that the free movement of electrons in metals gives them electrical conductivity. When voltage is applied, an electric field in the metal triggers the movement of electrons, causing them to move from one end of the conductor to another. The electrons will move in the positive direction. Heat conduction Metals are good conductors of heat. Conduction occurs when a substance is heated, the particles gain more energy and vibrate more strongly. These molecules then collide with nearby particles and transfer some of their energy to them. Then this continues and transfers energy from the hot end to the cooler end of the substance.Why are metals good conductors of heat?Electrons in metals are delocalized electrons and are free moving electrons so when there is energy (heat) they oscillate faster and can move around which means they can can transfer energy faster.Which metal conducts electricity best? Upper: Gold (au), Silver (Ag), Copper (Cu) and Zinc (Zn) electron shells. Logic would have one think that Gold is the best conductor having a single s-orbital electron in the last shell (diagram above)… so why are Silver and Copper actually better (see table below). Silver 6.30 × 10 7 Copper 5.96 × 10 7 Gold 4.10 × 10 7 Aluminum 3.50 × 10 7 Zinc 1.69 × 10 7Milver has a larger atomic radius (160 pm) than gold ( 135 pm), despite the fact that gold has more electrons than silver! For the reason for this, see the comment below: “Silver lies between the transition metals about 1/2 the distance between the noble gases and the alkali metals. In column 11 of the periodic table, all of these elements (copper, silver, and gold) have a single s-orbital outer shell electron (platin also has, in column 10). The electron structure of these elements has no particular affinity for gaining an electron or losing an electron for heavier or lighter noble gases, because they lie 1/2 way between. In general, this means that it doesn’t take much energy to remove a transient electron or add a transient electron. Specific electron affinities and ionization potentials are very different, and with regard to conduction, having a relatively low energy for these two criteria is an important part. -electrons below 10 d-orbital electrons and s-orbital single electrons. The 14 f electrons are due to extra atoms in the actinide series. With the extra 14 electrons seemingly pushing out the d and s electrons, you’d think the s electron was just sitting out there ‘ripe’ for conduction (hardly any energy needed to push it out), but NO. The f-orbital electrons are packed in such a way that the atomic radius of gold is actually SMALLER than the atomic radius of silver – not much, but it is smaller. The radius is smaller, meaning there is more force from the nucleus on the outer electrons, so silver wins the ‘competition’ for conductivity. Remember, the force due to the charge is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. The closer two charges are to each other, the higher the force between them. Both copper and platinum are smaller in diameter; hence more pull from nucleus, hence more energy to dislodge that lone s electron, hence lower conductivity. radius (molybdenum, niobium, chromium, ruthenium, rhodium) than silver. tlbs101 YahooSOURCES AND READERS CHOICES – Structure and Physical Properties of Metals Why are some metals better at conducting heat than others? Top Q&A
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