Crystal structure of metals

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Main Question or Discussion Point

What determines the crystal structure taken by metals? For example Sr has FCC and Ba BCC. The packing fraction is greater for FCC. However, due apparently to coordination number and number of "next nearest" neighbors, BCC is favored in the case of Barium despite its lower packing fraction. The introductory texts I am reading claim metal bonds are mostly isotropic. Sr and Ba have the same valence shells. Nevertheless, is electron structure the key to determining bond geometry?
Thanks,
Simi
 

Answers and Replies

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There is no simple answer to this. Some metals, e.g. iron, even change their crystal structure as function of temperature and pressure. In the end it comes down to a balance between electronic structure, entropy and density (in case of externally applied pressure).
 

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