Structure of Metals 110

This class describes the atomic structure of metals and explains how this structure affects each metal's properties.

Class Details

Class Name:
Structure of Metals 110
This class describes the atomic structure of metals and explains how this structure affects each metal's properties.
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:
Related 2.0 Class:
Introduction to Metals 121

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • The Importance of Structure
  • The Atom
  • Valence Electrons
  • The Periodic Table
  • How Elements Interact
  • Ionic and Covalent Bonds
  • Metallic Bonds
  • Molecular Bonding
  • Crystal Formation in Metals
  • Types of Crystal Structures
  • Effects of Crystal Structure
  • Crystal Growth
  • Grains and Strength
  • Summary


  • Describe the importance of metal properties.
  • Identify the parts of the atom.
  • Describe a valence electron.
  • Describe the usefulness of the Periodic Table.
  • Explain why elements react with one another.
  • Distinguish between an ionic and covalent bond.
  • Define metallic bond.
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary bonds.
  • Describe how crystals form in metals.
  • Describe the different types of crystal structures.
  • Describe the significance of crystal structure.
  • Explain the beginning and end of crystal growth in metals.
  • Identify the impact of grain size.

Job Roles


  • CMfgT
  • MSSC Manufacturing Processes and Production


Vocabulary Term Definition
alloy A metal consisting of two or more materials. One of these materials must be a metal.
atom The smallest distinguishable unit of a material that maintains that material's characteristics.
atomic number The number of protons that are contained within the nucleus of an element's atoms.
body-centered cubic The crystal structure that contains an atom in the center and one atom in each corner of a cube.
brittle A metal's unwillingness to be drawn, stretched, or formed. Brittle metals tend to break if subjected to these forces.
chemical processes A process that changes the atomic or molecular structure of the involved materials by altering the bonds that hold together their atoms and molecules. Chemical processes result in a new substance.
covalent bond A type of atomic bond that occurs when two atoms share electrons.
crystal structure A repeating arrangement of the same type of atom that creates a uniform, repeating structure.
dendritic growth Grain development that resembles the increasingly smaller branches of a tree.
ductility A metal's ability to be drawn, stretched, or formed without breaking or cracking.
electrical conductivity A material's ability to act as a medium for conveying electricity.
electron The smallest part of the atom that revolves around the nucleus. Electrons have a negative charge, and they are the basic charge of electricity.
electron cloud The arrangement of electrons within a metallic bond that permits the free movement of electrons from one atom to the next.
element One of the basic materials out of which all matter is made. Elements are the simplest of substances, and each element contains atoms with an identical number of protons.
face-centered cubic The crystal structure that contains one atom in the center of the six sides of a cube and one atom in each corner of the cube.
grain A repeating arrangement of either the same type of atom or different atoms that create a uniform, repeating structure.
group A vertical column in the periodic table that contains elements with similar properties and chemical reactions.
hardness The ability of a material to resist penetration, indentation, or scratching.
hexagonal close-packed The crystal structure that contains a collection of atoms that are closely packed into the shape of a hexagon. Metals with a hexagonal close-packed crystal structure are very difficult to form.
ionic bond A type of atomic bond that occurs when one atom "borrows" one or more electrons from another atom.
mass The amount of matter that is contained within an object.
metal A hard, crystalline solid that conducts electricity and heat. It is shiny when polished, and it can be hammered, bent, formed, and machined.
metallic bond A type of atomic bond that occurs when atoms "share" electrons that float about in a general electron cloud. Metals are held together by metallic bonds.
molecule The smallest unit into which a material can be divided without changing its properties. A molecule consists of a group of atoms held together by strong primary bonds.
neutron A particle with a neutral charge that is located in the nucleus of an atom.
nucleation rate The rate at which small particles within a liquid metal begin to cool and form a solid.
nucleation site The locations at which seed crystals develop.
nucleus The core of an atom around which electrons rotate.
period A horizontal row within the periodic table.
periodic table The table containing all the elements arranged according to their atomic numbers. Vertical columns in the table contain elements with similar properties.
physical processes A process that transforms metal by manufacturing processes including forming, machining, casting, and joining.
pressure A force or stress which, when applied, causes changes to the properties of the material.
primary bond A bond that forms between atoms and that involves the exchanging or sharing of electrons.
proton A particle with a positive charge that is located in the nucleus of an atom.
secondary bond A bond that involves attractions between molecules. Unlike primary bonding, there is no transfer or sharing of electrons.
seed crystal The origin of crystal growth that develops at one of the coolest points within a metal.
shell The approximately circular level in which electrons travel around the nucleus. Each shell consists of subshells, or orbitals.
space lattice system The stacking of atoms into compact, symmetrical, three-dimensional arrangements that occurs as crystals form in a metal.
strength The ability of a material to resist forces that attempt to bend, stretch, or compress.
temperature The degree of heat within a material.
valence electron An electron that is located in the outermost shell of an atom. Valence electrons are easily shared or transferred during a chemical reaction.