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Properties of Soft Metals – An Overview

The Unusual Properties of Soft Metals

Zinc, cadmium, and mercury are all metals with unusual properties. These three elements have several things in common. Namely, they’re soft, malleable, and easily shaped. But what makes them so different from other metals? To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at the science behind zinc, cadmium, and mercury.

Atomic Structure of Soft Metals

At a molecular level, these metals have unique atomic structures that enable them to be softer than other metals. All atoms are composed of protons and neutrons in the nucleus, surrounded by electrons orbiting around it, forming shells. Zinc has 30 electrons arranged in two shells; cadmium has 48 electrons arranged in three shells; and mercury has 80 electrons arranged in four shells. This arrangement gives these elements more flexibility to form chemical bonds with other materials without losing their properties.

Metallic Bonds

In addition to their unusual atomic structure, zinc, cadmium, and mercury also have special metallic bonds that allow them to remain malleable even when exposed to external forces such as heat or pressure. In general terms, metallic bonds are formed between metal atoms when their outermost electron shell is filled with electrons of different energies due to their spatial arrangements around the nucleus. This enables the metal atoms to form solid metallic bonds that keep them together despite external stressors like heat or pressure, making them very soft and pliable compared to other metals like iron or steel, which need extreme temperatures before they become soft enough to be reshaped or molded into new forms.


Soft metals like zinc, cadmium, and mercury may not be as strong as harder metals like iron or steel. Still, they have unique qualities that make them useful for certain applications, such as electrical wiring and medical devices where flexible yet durable materials are needed. Understanding the molecular structure of these elements helps us appreciate why they are so soft compared to other metals – it all comes down to their unique atomic structure combined with special metallic bonding properties allowing them to remain malleable even when exposed to external forces like heat or pressure. For this reason alone, these elements will continue to be valuable components in various industries for years to come!

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