Why Do Metals Feel Cold To The Touch?


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Kath Senior answered
Metals feel cold when you touch them because they are good conductors of heat. They conduct heat away from the skin on your hand and the temperature receptors in your skin register this as a drop in temperature, so the surface of the metal appears to be cool.

Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity because they contain a lot of free floating electrons. Metals are usually made from one type of atom only as they are elements – metals such as copper and iron fall into this category. The atoms exist in the metal solid in a lattice arrangement and the nuclei of the atoms are fairly regularly spaced. The electrons, however, do not stay in one place, they flow around and between the atoms and are referred to as delocalised electrons. Non-metals are poor conductors of heat and electricity because they have no delocalised electrons.

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