Q:

Why are metals shiny?

A:

Quick Answer

Metals are shiny because metals contain free electrons that vibrate when they come in contact with light. When the electrons vibrate, they produce their own light. This is reflected back and is what creates the shiny, lustrous appearance of metal.

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Why are metals shiny?
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Full Answer

Metal is shiniest when it is first cut. Exposure to elements such as oxygen and carbon cause metals to lose the luster on the surface because the elements cause a tarnish that reduces the freedom of the electrons to vibrate. The tarnish is removable through polishing or using a chemical treatment. Some metals, those known as "noble metals," are more resistant to tarnishing caused by elements.

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Related Questions

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    What are metals made from?

    A:

    Metals are opaque, lustrous natural elements that are effective in conducting electricity and heat. The majority of metals used in everyday applications are ductile and malleable and are usually denser than other elemental substances.

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    What are transition metals?

    A:

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    What is the difference between metals and nonmetals?

    A:

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