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AP Chemistry - Solid Structures & Types

AP Chemistry - Solid Structures & Types

Particle State - SolidIntroduction: Solids are all around us – from table salt to glass to table sugar. It’s important to consider solids’ internal structures, since placing salt in water can cause the water solution to conduct electricity as a result of charged ions flowing freely in the water. Likewise, the solid structure of diamond becomes important when working towards understanding why diamond is quite hard, considering that it only has covalent bonding.
Solids generally have a definite shape and volume, meaning they have their own shape and volume. Furthermore, the attractive forces between particles in solids are very strong. On the microscopic level, the particles only tend to vibrate in place. There are two primary types of solid structures that we encounter every day: crystalline solids (solids that have a highly regular arrangement in a 3D lattice) and amorphous solids (solids that have an irregular arrangement, such as glass).
Generally, crystalline solids are analyzed in chemistry through the use of a method known as X-Ray diffraction, in which X-Rays strike and scatter themselves across the surface of a crystalline solid after passing through a narrow slit. X-Ray diffraction provides a mean by which to analyze crystalline solids that is incredibly difficult to do otherwise. 
The three types of crystalline solids that are important to consider include ionic solids (which consist of ions positioned in specific lattice points), molecular solids (which consist of molecules positioned in specific lattice points), and atomic solids (which consist of pure elements). Because of the nature of the specific bonding and attractive forces present in these different solids, these solids will have different properties, such as electrical conductivity in solution.


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