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Chemical Bonding

Why aren't ionic compounds malleable?

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November 28, 2007 1:50AM

Unlike metallic bonds, ionic bonds can't exist in every direction. See, in metallic bonds, the 'shared' electrons are free; they don't belong to any of the atoms, the jump form atom to atom in every direction. This means that even if you bent the metallic bond, the atoms WILL find some place to 'jump' to. In ionic bonds, the atoms must be distributed properly so that every atom has eight valence electrons surrounding it (except for hydrogen). If you bend the compound too much or in the wrong direction, the bonds will break.

Unlike metallic bonds, ionic bonds can't exist in every direction. See, in metallic bonds, the 'shared' electrons are free; they don't belong to any of the atoms, they jump from atom to atom in every direction. This means that even if you bent the metallic bond, the electrons WILL find some place to 'jump' to. In ionic bonds, the atoms must be distributed properly so that every atom has eight valence electrons surrounding it (except for hydrogen). If you bend the compound too much or in the wrong direction, the bonds will break.