Difference Between Crystalline and Amorphous Solid

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In general, there are three states of matter. These are solid, liquid, and gas. Well, there is one more i.e Plasma. OKAY, not just one more. In fact, there are so many forms of matter that exist in nature. But, just because of the demand for the topic, we are only interested in the solid-state of matter that can be further bifurcated into two half i.e Crystalline and Amorphous solid.

So, the question of the hour is that how do crystalline solids differ from amorphous solids? Ever wondered? See, the primary difference between crystalline and amorphous solid is that in crystalline solids; molecules, atoms, or subatomic particles are arranged in a highly ordered manner. On the other hand, there is a lack of long-range order in amorphous solids.

That’s why we call crystalline solid an ordered solid or simply true solids. On the contrary, we call amorphous solids a disordered solid or simply pseudo solids. Just to mention, if you wanna know more about the different states of matter especially the plasma state of matter, You can check this article. I can surely bet you will love this piece of article.

So, coming back to the topic of discussion, in this exclusive article, I am going to get through each and every detail regarding crystalline and amorphous solid. But, before going into the deep discussion, let me give you a brief review of the two in a tabular form. Let’s dive right in!!!

 

Difference Between Crystalline and Amorphous Solids

 Crystalline SolidsAmorphous Solids
1.Crystalline solids have definite and regular geometrical shapes.Amorphous solids are highly irregular in shape.
2.They have a long range of orders, that’s why called ordered or true solids.They have a short range of order, that’s why called disordered or pseudo solids.
3.They have a sharp melting point.They do not have a sharp melting point.
4.Crystalline solids have definite heat of fusion.Amorphous solids do not have definite heat of fusion.
5.They are highly rigid and totally incompressible.Like crystalline solids, they are rigid too but can be compressed
6.When cut, crystalline solids give clean and sharp cleavage.When cut, Amorphous solids do not give clean and sharp cleavage.
7.They are anisotropic and symmetrical in nature.They are isotropic and unsymmetrical in nature.
8.Examples of crystalline solids are table salt, diamond, etc.Examples of amorphous solids are cotton, glass, thin-film lubricants, etc.
From the above crystalline vs amorphous solid table, you got the exact overview of these two. However, let us try to understand both of them in a detailed format. Keep reading!

 

What is Crystalline Solid?

According to the definition of crystalline solid, a material whose molecules, atoms, or even sub-atomic particles are arranged in a highly ordered structure is known as crystalline solids. In other words, you can simply say that crystalline solid consists of particles that are arranged in a 3-dimensional manner.

amethyst-quartz-crystalline-solid-example
A crystal of amethyst quartz. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

That’s why we also call them highly-ordered solids or simply true solids. Additionally, the word crystalline solids or simply crystals is derived from the ancient Greek word “Krustallos” which simply means rock crystals. As a matter of fact, apart from being a highly ordered structure, the intermolecular forces between the constituent particles are always equal.

Editor’s Choice: Crystalline Solid – Definition, Types, Properties & Examples

In fact, based on the molecular forces and chemical bonding between the constituent particles, crystalline solids can be further bifurcated into four parts. These are:

  • Ionic crystals
  • Metallic crystals
  • Molecular crystals
  • Covalent network crystals, etc.

 

Properties of Crystalline Solids

There are so many essential properties of crystalline solids. These are:

  • Crystalline solids have well-defined edges and faces.
  • They have a long range of orders.
  • They have a sharp melting point.
  • Crystalline solids have definite heat of fusion.
  • They are highly rigid and totally incompressible.
  • They are anisotropic and symmetrical in nature, etc.

Check Out: What are Conductors? – Definition, Types & Examples 

Examples of Crystalline Solids

If you think you can’t relate to crystalline solid examples in everyday life. Well, here is your chance to think again!

  • Diamond
  • Table salt
  • Calcium fluoride
  • Quartz
  • Silicon dioxide
  • Ammonia
  • Iodine, etc.

 

Applications of Crystalline Solids

There are so many essential applications of crystalline solids such as:

  • Diamond is used for making jewelry.
  • They are also used for cutting glasses.
  • We use table salt in our food preparation.
  • We use Quartz for making watches and wall clocks, etc.

Editor’s Choice: Ionic Bond vs Covalent Bond – Difference and Comparision

What is Amorphous Solid?

According to the definition of amorphous solids, a material whose molecules, atoms, or even sub-atomic particles lack the long-range order is known as amorphous solids. In other words, you can say that amorphous solids have irregular arrangements within their constituent particles. That’s why we also call them highly disordered solids or pseudo solids.

plastic-amorphous-solid-example
Image Credit: read.nxtbook.com

Additionally, the word amorphous is derived from the ancient Greek word “morphé” which simply means formless. As a matter of fact, just because the intermolecular distance between the two constituent particles always tends to vary, therefore, as a result, the intermolecular forces between them are never equal.

 Editor’s Choice: Amorphous Solid – Definition, Properties & Examples

Properties of Amorphous Solids

There are so many essential properties of amorphous solids. These are:

  • Amorphous solids do not have well-defined edges and faces.
  • They have a short range of orders.
  • They do not have a sharp melting point.
  • Amorphous solids do not have definite heat of fusion.
  • They are highly rigid but can be compressed.
  • They are isotropic and unsymmetrical in nature, etc.

 Check Out: What are Insulators? – Definition, Types & Examples

Examples of Amorphous Solids

If you think you can’t relate to Amorphous solid examples in everyday life. Well, here is your chance to think again!

  • Glass
  • Wax
  • Thin-film lubricants
  • Gels
  • Plastics
  • Rubber
  • Polymers, etc.

 Take a look at: Sublimation Definition, Process, Facts & Examples

Applications of Amorphous Solids

There are so many essential applications of amorphous solids in our day-to-day life. These are:

  • We use plastics to make toys for kids.
  • We use rubber to make tyres or sole of the shoes.
  • Glass has been extensively used for making windows.
  • We use amorphous solid in medical applications.
  • We use amorphous solids in industrial applications, etc.

Check Out: Evaporation Definition, Process, Facts & Examples

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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