A solid is one of the four principal states of matter. A solid object is characterized by resistance to deformation and change of volume. The branch of physics that deals with solids is called solid-state physics, and it is a type of condensed matter physics. Materials science is primarily concerned with properties of solids such as strength and phase transformations. It overlaps strongly with solid-state physics. Solid-state chemistry overlaps both these fields, but it is especially concerned with the synthesis of novel materials.
- The atoms or molecules that comprise the solid are packed closely together. These constituent elements have fixed positions in space relative to each other. This accounts for the solid's rigidity.
- If there is long-range order or repeating pattern in the positions of the atoms or molecules of a solid, it is called a crystalline solid. A crystal structure is composed of a unit cell, (a set of atoms arranged in a particular way), which is periodically repeated in three dimensions on a lattice. A crystal's structure and symmetry play a role in determining many of its properties, such as cleavage, electronic band structure, and optical properties. If sufficient force is applied, the ordered structure can be distorted, causing permanent deformation.
- If there is no long-range order or repeating pattern in the positions of the atoms or molecules of a solid, it is called an amorphous solid. Examples of amorphous solids include window glass, many polymers (such as polystyrene), and foods such as cotton candy.
- Because any solid has some thermal energy, its atoms vibrate. However, this movement is very small, and cannot be observed or felt under ordinary conditions.
- Most solids, when heated, are converted to the liquid form at their respective melting points. Some solids, however, are converted directly to the gaseous form—a property known as sublimation.
- Ashcroft, Neil W., N. David Mermin. 1976. Solid State Physics. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 0030839939
- Grosso, Giuseppe, and Giuseppe Pastori Parravicini. 2000. Solid State Physics. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. ISBN 012304460X
- Kittel, Charles. 2004. Introduction to Solid State Physics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN 047141526X
|States of Matter|
|Solid | Liquid | Gas | Plasma | Colloid | Supercritical fluid | Superfluid | Supersolid | Degenerate matter | Quark-gluon plasma | Fermionic condensate | Bose–Einstein condensate | Strange matter | Melting point | Boiling point | Triple point | Critical point | Equation of state | Cooling curve|
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