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What is an Amorphous Solid, Definition, Properties, Characteristics, Examples

In this article you will learn how amorphous solids are arranged, the reason for their geometrical shapes, etc. 

What is an Amorphous Solid?

The amorphous solids are those solids in which the arrangement of atoms, ions, and molecules is not in definite geometrical order(arranged in an irregular manner). These are not true solids, they can be considered viscous liquids.

Unlike the crystalline solids, the pattern or shape of amorphous solids is not in three-dimension infect they form a two-dimension pattern. Because of their structure, they have called glassy solids, and they cannot be identified as crystals.

What are the examples of amorphous solids?

These are examples of amorphous solids

  1. Simple glass
  2. Various polymers
  3. Cotton candy
  4. Smooth chocolate
  5. Gel,
  6. Plastics
  7. Wax,
  8. Cotton,
  9. Lampblack,
  10. Thin films, etc.

What are the Properties and Characteristics of Amorphous (Glassy Solids) solids?

what is an amorphous solid
Image from Wikimedia

Above image is taken from

Amorphous solids have the following properties and characteristics.

  1. The atoms, ions, and molecules are not in a highly arranged pattern or shape.
  2. Unlike crystalline solids (Crystalline solids have properties of Anisotropy), amorphous solids have properties of Isotropy.
  3. Because of their irregular shape and arrangement of atoms, ions, and molecules they are not bounded by flat surfaces.
  4. Unlike crystalline solids, they cannot be cleaved along with definite shapes or planes.
  5. The amorphous solids do not have long-range order to their atomic structure. Also, they do not have a unit cell or a lattice-like pattern or shape.
  6. Due to the irregular arrangement of atoms, ions, and molecules, their intermolecular forces are not so strong, so that they have lots of bonding defects, by which they are lack of fixed value of the melting temperature.
  7. When we heating an amorphous solid the weakest bonds get ruptured at lower temperatures and then at a high temperature the stronger one gets ruptured. So like crystalline solids, they do not have a sharp melting point. 
what is an amorphous solid
Photo by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash

FAQ – Amorphous Solids

What is isotropy?

Alike anisotropy, Isotropy is not direction-dependent. When we measured different physical and mechanical properties of an amorphous solid in different directions, some-like refractive index, electrical and thermal conductivities, Young’s modulus, compressibility, etc are the same. 

What is Anisotropy?

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