What Is a Solid?

The term solid describes a substance that is rigid and holds its shape. Because solid particles cannot move, they can never come closer to each other. The only way to change a solid’s shape is to squeeze, stretch, or break it apart. The most dense solid in nature is osmium, which is 6.5 pounds. If you were to take a tennis ball-sized lump of this substance, it would weigh 6.5 pounds.

crystalline solids

Crystalline solids are made of atoms, ions, or molecules in a specific arrangement. They are usually incompressible, meaning that their particles can’t be compressed into smaller ones. Because of their repeating geometric structure, crystals will always have the same degree of strength in all of their bonds. Crystalline solids also exhibit a distinct melting point at which all of their bonds will be broken at once. Here are a few examples of crystalline materials.

noncrystalline solids

The Journal of Noncrystalline Solids is a biweekly peer-reviewed scientific journal that covers research on amorphous materials. The journal was established in 1968, and its editors include Barrett G. Potter, Edgar Dutra Zanotto, and Josef W. Zwanziger. In 2008, it was named one of the top 25 scientific journals in the world. If you’re interested in research on amorphous materials, this journal is the place to go.

quasicrystalline solids

While the crystal structure of normal crystals is periodic, quasicrystalline solids have an unusual and unique fractal structure. Their patterns repeat themselves as one zooms in. For example, they show peaks at arbitrarily small moments. The unusual fractal structure of quasicrystalline solids is best understood by considering them as projections of higher-dimensional crystals onto lower-dimensional space. Understanding the properties of quasicrystalline solids offers a unique window into the properties of higher-dimensional phenomena.

Metallic solids

As their name suggests, metallic solids are composed of atoms that are free of vacancies, which make them excellent conductors of heat and electricity. Their properties are primarily determined by the free movement of electrons. This allows them to change positions within the solid without breaking bonds and transfer energy through collisions. The atoms of metallic solids are not constrained by a rigid structure, and therefore they can be hammered or drawn into a wide variety of shapes without breaking.

amorphous solids

Amorphous solids are any substance that does not exhibit long-range order, such as those found in crystals. This absence of order caused amorphous solids to be sometimes used synonymously with glass. Its irrational properties made them difficult to identify, but they are still commonly encountered. In fact, the term “glass” has become synonymous with amorphous solids, and was often used in old texts to describe glass.