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General Characteristics

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General Characteristics - Lesson Summary

Characteristics of solid state
  • Solids are hard and do not change their shape easily.
  • Liquids are less rigid than solids and take up any shape easily.
  • Gaseous objects do not have any shape.
  • Liquids and gases are termed as “fluids”, because of their ability to flow.
  • Solids have definite, hard shapes which cannot be changed without change in pressure or temperature.
  • The intermolecular distances in solids are very short and hence, intermolecular forces are strong, resulting in compact, rigid structures.
  • Because of the strong intermolecular forces, the molecules in a solid can oscillate only about their fixed positions. This gives a solid a definite mass and volume.
  • Based on the arrangement of the constituent particles, solids can be classified as crystalline or amorphous.
A crystalline solid:
  •  A crystalline solid has a geometrical shape and is named so because it actually consists of innumerable crystals which have characteristic geometric shapes.
  • A crystal is a solid in which the arrangement of the constituent atoms, molecules or ions is repeated periodically in an orderly three dimensional fashion throughout.
  • Crystalline solids are anisotropic in nature.
  • EX: Diamond, graphite and sodium chloride etc.
Amorphous solids:
  • In amorphous solids, the arrangements of particles are repeated for a very short distance, or may not be repeated at all.
  • Amorphous solids have a tendency to flow.  For this property, the amorphous solids are also called pseudo solids or super cooled liquids
  • EX: wax, glass and rubber show short range order.
  • Amorphous solids are called isotropic in nature.
  • These show sharp melting points.
  • Amorphous solids soften over a range of temperature.
  • Amorphous solids can be moulded into different shapes and they also become crystalline at some point of temperature.
  • Amorphous silicon is one of the best photovoltaic materials available for conversion of sunlight into electricity.


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