Introduction to crystals : Their external shapes as keys to structure

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Introduction to crystals : Their external shapes as keys to structure

Post by Algerien1970 on Sun 17 May - 14:22

The delicately faceted surfaces of large crystals that occur in nature have always been a source of fascination and delight. In some ways they seem to represent a degree of perfection that is not apparent in other forms of matter. But in the realm of pure solid substances, crystals are the rule rather than the exception, although this may not be apparent unless they are observed under a hand-lens or a microscope.

It is remarkable that the visual examination of crystals was able to establish a fairly mature science of crystallography (applied mainly to the study of minerals) by the end of the 19th Century, even before the atomic theory of matter had been universally accepted. Today this aspect of crystallography is of importance not only to chemists and physicists, but also to geologists, amateur minerologists and "rock-hounds" who maintain some of the best Web resources on crystals.

In this lesson we will see how the external shape of a crystal can reveal much about the underlying arrangement of its constituent atoms, ions, or molecules.


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