Difference Between Crystalline and Amorphous Solids

By Aina Parasher|Updated : April 26th, 2022

Difference between crystalline and amorphous solids: Matter exists in three states namely, solids, liquids, and gases. One of the states of matter is a solid state. Solids have mass, volume, and form that are all defined. Solids have distinct features that distinguish them from liquids and gases. They are capable of withstanding any force that is applied to their surface.

The arrangement of component particles and the force acting between them determine the solid-state of compounds. Based on the arrangement of constituent particles solids are classified into two types-

  • Crystalline Solids
  • Amorphous Solids 

Here we will discuss in detail crystalline solids, amorphous solids, and the difference between crystalline and amorphous solids in the below-mentioned sections.

Table of Content

What are Crystalline Solids?

The arrangement in a crystalline solid is well-arranged. A crystal is a crystalline arrangement of component particles that is well-ordered (atoms, molecules, or ions). Long-range order in a particle indicates that there is a constant pattern of particle arrangement that repeats itself on a regular basis across the crystal. Sodium chloride and quartz are two examples of crystalline solids.

The properties of crystalline solids are mentioned below.

  • Crystalline substances have a distinct melting point at which they begin to melt.
  • The forms of crystalline solids are well-defined, as are their particle arrangements.
  • Crystalline solids have cleavage property, which means they break into two pieces when cut with the edge of a sharp instrument, and the newly created surfaces are smooth and plain.
  • They have a characteristic fusion heat (amount of energy needed to melt a given mass of solid at its melting point).
  • Anisotropic solids are crystalline solids. Anisotropic materials have physical characteristics that change when measured in different orientations inside the same crystal, such as electrical resistance or refractive index.

What are Amorphous Solids?

The word amorphous comes from the Greek language. These particles are arranged in an uneven pattern. There are differences in intermolecular forces. The spacing between particles changes as well. They have an amorphous geometric form. Supercooled liquids are another name for amorphous solids. They're both isotropic. A regular and regularly repeating pattern may only be seen across short distances in such an arrangement. Gels, plastics, different polymers, wax, and thin films are examples of amorphous solids.

The properties of amorphous solids are mentioned below.

  • The uneven form of amorphous solids indicates that the component particles do not have a definite arrangement geometry.
  • Uneven surfaces are generated when amorphous substances are sliced using a sharp edge tool.
  • Amorphous solids lack a specific heat of fusion due to the uneven arrangement of the particles.
  • Amorphous solids are isotropic in nature due to the uneven arrangement of particles, which implies that the value of any physical attribute would be the same in any direction.
  • When heated, amorphous solids soften progressively across a range of temperatures and may be molded into a variety of forms.

What is the Difference Between Crystalline and Amorphous Solids?

As we have discussed in brief the amorphous and crystalline solids. Let us now check the difference between crystalline and amorphous solids listed in the table below.

Crystalline SolidsAmorphous Solids
Atoms have a regular three-dimensional arrangement.Atoms have an irregular arrangement.
Crystalline solids are anisotropic.Amorphous solids are isotropic.
Crystalline substances have a distinct melting point at which they begin to melt. When heated, amorphous solids soften progressively across a range of temperatures and may be changed into a variety of forms.
They have a specific heat of fusion.They do not have a fixed heat of fusion.
Crystalline solids are known as true solids.Amorphous solids are known as pseudo solids or super cooled liquids.
They have a long order arrangement of particles.They have a short-order arrangement of particles.

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FAQs

  • The major difference between crystalline and amorphous solids is that crystalline solids have a regular arrangement of particles while amorphous solids have an irregular arrangement of particles.

  • Crystalline solids consist of particles that are arranged in a three-dimensional manner. Intermolecular forces are equal between them. They have a well-defined melting temperature and are anisotropic. These are also referred to as true solids.

  • The amorphous solids are arranged in an uneven pattern. There do not have equivalent intermolecular forces between them. In addition, the spacing between each pair of particles varies. They don't have a certain geometric form. Amorphous solids are also known as supercooled liquids.

  • The arrangement difference between crystalline and amorphous solids is that crystalline solids are arranged in a regular repeating three-dimensional array, whereas the components of amorphous solids aew arranged more or less in an irregular pattern.

  • In terms of melting point, the difference between crystalline and amorphous solids is such that the crystalline solids have a high and definite melting point while amorphous solids do not have a sharp melting point.

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