Why don't metals bond when touched together?

In summary, metals are a crystal lattice of ions held together by delocalized electrons. When two pieces of the same metal are touched together, they do not bond due to the presence of a thin oxide coating. However, if this coating is removed, the metals can bond. The movement of delocalized electrons from one piece to the other is not enough to cause bonding, but a current can facilitate bonding if the oxide coating is removed.
  • #1
Ganesh Ujwal
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It is my understanding that metals are a crystal lattice of ions, held together by delocalized electrons, which move freely through the lattice (and conduct electricity, heat, etc.).

If two pieces of the same metal are touched together, why don't they bond?

It seems to me the delocalized electrons would move from one metal to the other, and extend the bond, holding the two pieces together. If the electrons don't move freely from one piece to the other, why would this not happen when a current is applied (through the two pieces)?
 
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  • #3
To add to Orodruin's reply, a metal has a thin oxide coating from its reaction to the air. So normally, the metals themselves don't touch. Remove it, and metals will stick together.
 

1. Why don't metals bond when touched together?

Metals do not bond when touched together because they have a strong metallic bond between their atoms. This bond is formed by the delocalized electrons in the metal, which allow the atoms to slide past each other without forming covalent bonds.

2. Can two different types of metals bond when touched together?

Yes, two different types of metals can bond when touched together. This is known as a metallic bond and it is formed by the attraction between the delocalized electrons in one metal and the positive ions in the other metal.

3. Why do metals feel cold to the touch?

Metals feel cold to the touch because they are good conductors of heat, meaning they can quickly transfer heat away from the body. This rapid heat transfer gives the sensation of coldness.

4. Can metals bond with non-metals when touched together?

No, metals cannot bond with non-metals when touched together. Non-metals do not have delocalized electrons and instead have strong covalent bonds between their atoms, which cannot be disrupted by simply touching them to a metal.

5. Why do metals form alloys when mixed together?

Metals form alloys when mixed together because their atoms are able to mix and form a solid solution due to the strength of the metallic bond. This creates a new material with different properties than the individual metals.

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