What Is a Solid?

A solid is a substance that is hard, ductile, and typically a good thermal and electrical conductor. It has a definite volume and can be formed into many different shapes. It also has a melting point. Let’s review the basic features of a solid and how to identify it in your daily life. What are solids made of? And how can you tell if a solid is a good material for your project?

Solids are hard, malleable, ductile, and usually good electrical and thermal conductors

The metals in the periodic table are the most metallic substances. They are hard, malleable, and ductile and usually have a metallic luster. They are also good conductors of heat and electricity and may be beaten into thin sheets. The best heat and electrical conductors are metals. Nonmetals are colorful, softer, and are not metallic.

They are made of molecules

All solids are composed of molecules and atoms. These atoms are held together by strong intermolecular forces and ionic attraction. The inter-molecular attraction is what holds rocks together. On the other hand, the van der Waals forces that hold atoms in organic molecules together are what hold them together. This is why some substances are more similar than others, and why ice and rock salt are such different materials.

They are arranged in a lattice

A solid is an arrangement of particles that have the same structure. All atoms in a compound share the same environment. This is why the cubic unit cell is the smallest repeating unit of a crystal lattice. Each cubic unit cell contains eight atoms. The center of an atom touches the atoms in the corners of the other six cells. The atoms in a cubic unit cell are one-eighth of the atom.

They have a melting point

The temperature at which a solid changes to a liquid is called the melting point. Many different substances have a different melting point, including water, butter, and jelly. This activity will help children understand why different substances melt at different temperatures. Using a muffin tin or other transparent container, students can test the melting points of everyday objects. They can also discuss why certain materials melt or become solid when exposed to sunlight.

They are a good electrical and thermal conductor

A solid that is a good electrical and thermal conductor is made of molecules that contribute to their ability to conduct heat. Solids contain free electrons that move from one atom to another, and the energy and charge they carry travels through these molecules. Nonmetals, on the other hand, do not have many free electrons and do not conduct heat well. Asbestos is an example of a nonmetal that conducts heat poorly. Liquids and gases also have molecules that are far apart from each other, and are therefore poor conductors.