What You Need to Know About Solids

Crystalline solids are those materials that are made up of molecules and atoms that are tightly packed together. They are classified into seven distinct crystal systems, including cubic, tetragonal, hexagonal, monoclinic, triclinic, and orthorhombic. These crystal systems are also known as Bravais lattices. If you’re interested in learning more about solids, read on to discover more about the properties of these materials.


Scientists have been using X-ray light and electrons to film atoms and molecules in solid materials. The speed and magnitude of the external forces influence the shape of the atoms. To film individual atoms, scientists bombard a solid with multiple pulses of X-ray light. Atoms may also change their shapes due to changes in the outer shell electrons’ orbitals. These experiments are possible only at certain rare facilities around the world.


The term “molecule” is used to describe a solid network of atoms covalently bound together. Images of the solid carbon dioxide and caffeine are examples of molecule packing. Gray balls represent carbon, red represents oxygen and purple represents nitrogen. These molecules are solid at room temperature and sublimate to a gaseous form during sublimation. Each solid has a boiling and melting point corresponding to its atomic structure. To learn more about molecule structure, read the following explanation.


The lattice of a solid is a series of crystals arranged in parallel to each other. These crystals are referred to as grains. The structure of a crystal is its lattice, which is continuous throughout the grain. There are areas, where two grains meet, which are called grain boundaries. These boundaries are caused by the rotation of the crystal lattice. Each grain has a different orientation.

Specific heat capacity

The specific heat capacity of a solid is the amount of heat that a material can absorb from a certain temperature. The specific heat capacity of a solid can be determined using a Bunsen Ice Calorimeter. This device is described in Section 18.7. It has a number of uses, including measuring the specific heat capacity of various biological materials. Specifically, it can be used to estimate the specific heat capacity of solids and liquids.

Resistance to perpendicular or parallel forces

A solid’s resistance to perpendicular or parallel forces is determined by the amount of compression in its intermolecular bonds. The intermolecular bonds connecting the first layer of molecules to the second layer of molecules are called the normal forces. These bonds tend to point perpendicularly to the surface where they are located. Hence, the normal force acts to prevent the solid objects from moving through each other.