Science

Difference between amorphous solids and crystalline solids

Main difference

Solid is one of the states of matter, the other two are liquid and gas. A solid material has the right shape, volume, and size. Other solids are classified into many types. One of the main types of solid is the amorphous solid; In this type of solid, the atoms or molecules are not available in a defined pattern. It is a non-crystalline solid that has atoms close to each other. Common examples are glass, plastic, etc. Another type of solid is the crystalline solid; it is a type of solid whose atoms or molecules are available in a highly organized order forming a crystal lattice in all possible directions. It also has atoms close to each other – its common examples are NaCl crystals, etc.

Comparative chart

Base Amorphous solids Crystalline solids
Geometry structure Amorphous solids have an irregular geometry or structure. Crystalline solids have a regular geometry or structure.
Arrangement Amorphous solids have an indefinite arrangement of atoms. Crystalline solids have an arrangement of atoms in a defined way.
Intermolecular forces Amorphous solids have non-uniform intermolecular forces. Crystalline solids have uniform intermolecular forces between them.
Melt and boil Amorphous solids do not have a sharp melting or boiling point. Crystalline solids have a sharp melting and boiling point
Rigid Less rigid. More rigid.
Properties Amorphous solids show isotropic properties. Crystalline solids show anisotropic properties.
What are amorphous solids?

The amorphous solid is one of the main categories of solids. The amorphous solid is defined as a solid that has an irregular or indefinite arrangement of atoms and molecules. In this, all the atoms are tightly packed and very close to each other. Amorphous solids have isotropic and direction-independent properties. In this solid, the distance and direction of the atom units vary from each other, since it is irregular. It gradually softens at high temperatures, and if it is kept there for a longer period, the atoms start to organize in a regular way as in crystalline solids. One thing to keep in mind is that amorphous solids do not have a defined melting point. When amorphous solids break or split, they produce irregular fragments. They also show poor or indefinite patterns when exposed to X-rays due to their irregular structure. Amorphous solids are less rigid than crystalline ones. Prominent examples of amorphous solids are fiberglass, plastics, Teflon, etc.

What are crystalline solids?

The crystalline solid is one of the main categories of solids. A crystalline solid is defined as a solid that has a regular or defined arrangement of atoms and molecules. In this, all the atoms are tightly packed and very close to each other. The intermolecular forces that maintain them are uniform. Crystalline solids are anisotropic in properties and are direction dependent. In this solid, the distance and direction of the atom units do not vary from each other, since it is regular. They melt at their melting point. One thing to keep in mind is that the crystalline solid has a definite melting point. They show good or sharp patterns when exposed to X-rays due to their regular structure. Crystalline solids are stiffer than amorphous solids. For example, NaCl crystals, etc.

Key differences
  1. Amorphous solids have an irregular geometry or structure while crystalline solids have a regular geometry or structure.
  2. Amorphous solids have an indefinite arrangement of atoms, while crystalline solids have an arrangement of atoms in a definite way.
  3. Amorphous solids give a poor pattern when exposed to X-rays, while crystalline solids give a good, sharp pattern.
  4. Amorphous solids have non-uniform intermolecular forces while crystalline solids have uniform intermolecular forces between them.
  5. Amorphous solids do not have a sharp melting or boiling point, but crystalline solids have a sharp melting and boiling point.
  6. Amorphous solids are less rigid while crystalline solids are more rigid.
  7. Amorphous solids show isotropic properties, while crystalline solids show anisotropic properties.

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