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General Characteristics of Solids

We have already learnt in XI STD that gas molecules move randomly without exerting reasonable forces on one another. Unlike gases, in solids the atoms, ions or molecules are held together by strong force of attraction. The general characteristics of solids are as follows,

  • Solids have definite volume and shape.
  • Solids are rigid and incompressible
  • Solids have strong cohesive forces.
  • Solids have short inter atomic, ionic or molecular distances.
  • Their constituents (atoms, ions or molecules) have fixed positions and can only oscillate about their mean positions.

solid have a fixed shape and a fixed volume, solid cannot be compressed solids have high density force of attraction between the particles is very strong. The space between the particles of solids is negligible.

Definite shape, definite volume, definite melting point, high density, incompressibility, and low rate of diffusion.

Solids have a definite mass, volume, and shape because strong intermolecular forces hold the constituent particles of matter together. The intermolecular force tends to dominate the thermal energy at low temperature and the solids stay in the fixed state. In a solid and liquid, the mass and volume remain the same.

Solids have many different properties, including conductivity, malleability, density, hardness, and optical transmission, to name a few.

A solid is a sample of matter that retains its shape and density when not confined. Examples of solids are common table salt, table sugar, water ice, frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice), glass, rock, most metals, and wood. When a solid is heated, the atoms or molecules gain kinetic energy.

Solids can be classified into two types: crystalline and amorphous. Crystalline solids are the most common type of solid. They are characterized by a regular crystalline organization of atoms that confer a long-range order. Amorphous, or non-crystalline, solids lack this long-range order.

The major types of solids are ionic, molecular, covalent, and metallic. Ionic solids consist of positively and negatively charged ions held together by electrostatic forces; the strength of the bonding is reflected in the lattice energy. Ionic solids tend to have high melting points and are rather hard.

The most obvious physical properties of a liquid are its retention of volume and its conformation to the shape of its container. When a liquid substance is poured into a vessel, it takes the shape of the vessel, and, as long as the substance stays in the liquid state, it will remain inside the vessel.

Some substances form crystalline solids consisting of particles in a very organized structure; others form amorphous (noncrystalline) solids with an internal structure that is not ordered. The main types of crystalline solids are ionic solids, metallic solids, covalent network solids, and molecular solids.

Mechanical Properties of solids describe characteristics such as their strength and resistance to deformation. Examples of mechanical properties are elasticity, plasticity, strength, abrasion, hardness, ductility, brittleness, malleability and toughness.

Solids like to hold their shape. In the same way that a large solid holds its shape, the atoms inside of a solid are not allowed to move around too much. Atoms and molecules in liquids and gases are bouncing and floating around, free to move where they want.

A solid is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to a force applied to the surface. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire available volume like a gas.

Solids have definite shapes and definite volumes and are not compressible to any extent. There are two main categories of solids-crystalline solids and amorphous solids. Crystalline solids are those in which the atoms, ions, or molecules that make up the solid exist in a regular, well-defined arrangement.

In a solid, atoms and molecules are arranged in such a way that each molecule is acted upon by the forces due to the neighbouring molecules. These forces are known as inter molecular forces.

In crystalline solids, the atoms, ions or molecules are arranged in an ordered and symmetrical pattern that is repeated over the entire crystal. The smallest repeating structure of a solid is called a unit cell, which is like a brick in a wall. Unit cells combine to form a network called a crystal lattice.