In this chapter, we turn our attention to the structures and properties of solids. The solid state is distinguished from the gas and liquid states by a rigid structure in which the component atoms, ions, or molecules are usually locked into place. In many solids, the components are arranged in extended three-dimensional patterns, producing a wide range of properties that can often be tailored to specific functions. Thus diamond, an allotrope of elemental carbon, is one of the hardest materials known, yet graphite, another allotrope of carbon, is a soft, slippery material used in pencil lead and as a lubricant. Metallic sodium is soft enough to be cut with a dull knife, but crystalline sodium chloride turns into a fine powder when struck with a hammer.
- 12.4: Defects in Crystals
- Defects determine the behavior of solids, but because ionic compounds contain both cations and anions, they exhibit additional types of defects that are not found in metals.
- 12.9: Modern Materials
- Ceramics are nonmetallic, inorganic solids that are typically strong; they have high melting points but are brittle. The two major classes of modern ceramics are ceramic oxides and nonoxide ceramics, which are composed of nonmetal carbides or nitrides. The production of ceramics generally involves pressing a powder of the material into the desired shape and sintering at a temperature just below its melting point. The necessary fine powders of ceramic oxides with uniformly sized particles can be