It is no secret that humans have always been drawn to shiny objects. The more it reflects light and the more it catches our eyes, the more likely it is to attract our attention. Metals, such as gold or silver, or copper, are worth considering. But have you ever considered why metals are so shiny?
Why are metals shiny in appearance?
Generally, metals are characterized by their lustrous properties. Due to the random movement of free electrons in a metal, this property describes the amount of light reflected from its surface. Due to free electron vibrations in metals, they re-emit light instead of storing that energy internally. This results in a shiny appearance for metals.
Why are metals shiny and lustrous?
It is due to the presence of vacant electrons that metals appear shiny. Light energy causes these loose electrons to vibrate and move randomly in every direction within the metal when they come into contact with it. Consequently, the light energy incident on it is reflected. Therefore, metals have a lustrous and shiny appearance.
The shine of metal is greater when it is first cut. Upon contact with elements such as carbon and oxygen, the cut surface loses its radiance since these elements dull the surface and reduce the ability of the electrons to vibrate. It is possible to restore the shine to a dull surface by polishing or using a chemical treatment.
Metals are materials that have high electrical and thermal conductivity, ductility, and malleability. They can be either hard or soft, depending on their melting point and density. Metals are used to make alloys because they form strong bonds with other metals when mixed together. Most metals are malleable and ductile, meaning that they can be easily shaped by hand or by machine tools.
Metals have different properties depending on their atomic structure. Some of them have an ionic structure, meaning that there is a positive electron in the outer shell of an atom and a negative electron in its inner shell. This means that it has a positive charge, which makes it electrically conductive and magnetic at the same time; it also means it has an affinity for forming bonds with other atoms or molecules. Other metals have a covalent (or molecular) structure; this means that electrons are shared between two or more atoms in the outer shell of an atom, which decreases its overall electron density but increases its overall size (and thus, mass).