Explain the physical properties of metals

Metals have a number of physical properties which make them useful to us in society, and which you will be familiar with from everyday experience. By considering the structure and bonding of metals which you have studied, we can explain these properties. 

Metals are strong, with high melting and boiling points

Metals have high melting and boiling points as a result of the strong electrostatic attraction between the positively charged metal ions (we call positively charged ions cations), and sea of delocalised electrons. A great deal of heat energy is required to overcome this strong electrostatic attraction, which gives metals their high melting and boiling points. 

Metals conduct electricity

The delocalised electrons in the metal are free to move throughout the entire structure. When attached to an electrical power source, this means the metal can conduct electricity.  

Metals are workable

Metals have a crystal lattice, where the cations are arranged in a regular array. This means that when a large force is applied to a metal, the particles slide over each other (keeping their regular arrangement), and stay in their new positions. 

Metals are normally easy to shape since this regular packing allows ions to slide over each other. Metals are therefore said to be malleable (easily beaten into shape), and ductile (easily pulled out into wires).  

Michael L. A Level Chemistry tutor, GCSE Chemistry tutor, 13 plus  Ch...

1 year ago

Answered by Michael, a GCSE Chemistry tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Jake G. GCSE Chemistry tutor, A Level Chemistry tutor
View profile
£18 /hr

Jake G.

Degree: Chemistry (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Physics+ 1 more


“About me: Hi, I’m Jake and I’m a first year undergraduate at the University of Warwick studying Chemistry. As I only finished my A-levels last year, I still have expertise on the A-level syllabus and good exam technique. Due to my col...”

PremiumMoonisah S. A Level Biology tutor, A Level Chemistry tutor, GCSE Biol...
View profile
£22 /hr

Moonisah S.

Degree: Neuroscience (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Science+ 3 more


“I teach the core subjects but specialise in science. I am here to help you achieve your goals, evolve as a learner and hopefully develop a love and appreciation for your subject.”

Elizabeth T. A Level Biology tutor, GCSE Biology tutor, GCSE History ...
View profile
£18 /hr

Elizabeth T.

Degree: Biomedical Science (Bachelors) - Newcastle University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Biology


“A Little Bit About Lizzie: I am a Biomedical Science student studying at Newcastle University. I recieved grade A's in Biology, Chemistry and Maths at A-level, and have always had a real passion for science! I am patient and have a v...”

About the author

Michael L. A Level Chemistry tutor, GCSE Chemistry tutor, 13 plus  Ch...
View profile

Michael L.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Chemistry (Masters) - Oxford, Magdalen College University

Subjects offered: Chemistry, Maths+ 2 more

Extended Project Qualification
-Personal Statements-

“Oxford Chemistry student - experienced tutor - committed and passionate about supporting your learning and improving your grades. Also happy to advise on Oxbridge and university applications for sciences. ”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Posts by Michael

Explain the physical properties of metals

How does a mass spectrometer work?

Other GCSE Chemistry questions

What does OILRIG stand for and what is the significance?

What is the difference between oxidation and reduction?

What is the difference between an Atom and an Ion?

Describe and explain the trend in reactivity of the alkali metals (Group 1)

View GCSE Chemistry tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss