Chemistry and Solids Help (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Aug 28, 2011

Physical Characteristics

Solids have regular parts of their personality that can be used to classify them. These can be found by their placement in the Periodic Table as well. The metals found in the middle of the Periodic Table share a lot of the same characteristics, like brothers and sisters in the same family that have the same hair or eye color. Some of these characteristics are hardness and structure (crystalline or amorphous), melting point, and electrical conductivity. Table 15.1 lists these personality traits of solids.

Table 15.1 The individuality of solids can be found in their variety of characteristics.


Fixed volume

Definite structure

Cannot be compressed

Held together by molecular, ionic, metallic, or covalent bonds

Do not expand when heated

Amorphous or crystalline in form

High density


One of the major players in the solid club is temperature. Temperature controls a lot of who gets along with whom and whether they play nice. Temperature also decides which form club members take to be a member.

Look at water, normally a member of the liquid club, but exposed to very low temperatures and pow! Ice. Not only a solid, but see through as well. Thanks to this special gift of H 2 O, we enjoy popsicles, ice hockey, and snow balls.

What happens when we raise the temperature a few degrees? No more ice. It’s back to the liquid club. Without ice, we have skiing on rocks (which is very hard on skis), no polar ice caps, and soupy chocolate chip ice cream. In other words, the end to life as we know it on this planet!

Generally, every element can be a solid if the temperature is dropped low enough, even gases. This helps us to understand the conditions on planets like Jupiter and Saturn in our solar system. They are mostly made up of frozen gases.

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at –  Solids Practice Test

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