Difference Between Crystalline and Amorphous Solid

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Amorphous vs Crystalline

There are basically three different states of matter, that are solid, liquid, and gaseous states. Solids possess two different states, namely, amorphous and crystalline. These forms or states of solids depend on the arrangement of the particles, in a definite or an indefinite geometry. Crystalline solids possess a regularly ordered array of particles that are held together with the help of uniform intermolecular forces. On the other hand, in the amorphous solids, the particles are not arranged in the form of regular arrays.


However, there are certainly a few exceptions with respect to the particles which are a part of the solid material. Whether these particles are molecular, ionic, metallic, or covalent, they are held together by strong forces between them. When we talk about solids, we also talk about the position of the molecules, ions, or atoms that are fixed in a spatial arrangement. We do not talk about the motion of these particles, which are generally considered in the case of gases and liquids. The constituents of the solids are arranged in two different ways. This means that they either tend to form a regular and repetitive 3D structure which is known as a crystal lattice, which produces a crystalline solid; or they tend to aggregate without any specific order and produce an amorphous solid. There is a vast difference between crystalline and amorphous solids and here we will learn about the comparison of amorphous vs crystalline.


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Crystalline Solids

Crystalline solids consist of particles that are arranged in a three-dimensional manner. The intermolecular forces between them are equal. They are anisotropic and have a well-defined melting point as well. They are referred to as the true solids. Examples of crystalline solids are diamond, benzoic acid, etc. Application of diamond includes in the making of beautiful jewelry, cutting of glass, etc.


Amorphous Solids

Amorphous refers to being shapeless. Amorphous solids have an irregular arrangement of the solid particles. The intermolecular forces between them are not equal. Also, the distance between every two particles tends to vary. They do not possess a defined geometric shape. Amorphous solids are also known as supercooled liquids and they are isotropic in nature. Examples of amorphous solids include glass, naphthalene, etc.


Applications of glass are as follows.

  1. It is widely used for the construction of buildings.

  2. It is also used in the packaging of cosmetics such as cosmetics boxes and the packing of food items such as in making food jars.

For understanding the difference between amorphous solids and crystalline solids better, let us take a look at the table given below. It showcases the crystalline and amorphous difference in detail.


Let us now differentiate between crystalline and amorphous solid.


Difference Between Crystalline Solid and Amorphous Solid

Crystalline Solids

Amorphous Solids

Crystalline solids possess a definite and regular geometry and consist of both long-range as well as short-range order of its constituent particles.

The particles of the constituents in the amorphous solids are arranged irregularly. They do not possess any kind of definite geometry and have a shorter range order.

Crystalline solids tend to have high and distinct melting points.

Amorphous solids do not have sharp melting points.

The external forms of the crystals tend to have regularity when they are formed.

Amorphous solids do not have an external regularity when they are formed.

Crystals tend to give a clean surface when they are cut with a knife.

The amorphous solids usually exhibit irregular cut-edges.

They possess a definite heat of fusion.

Amorphous solids do not have any specific heat of fusion.

The mild distorting forces cannot deform the crystalline solids since they are very rigid in nature.

Amorphous solids, on the other hand, do not possess any rigidity. The deformation could be achieved even by bending or compressing them.

Crystalline solids are known to be the true solids.

Amorphous solids are known to be supercooled liquids or pseudo solids.

Crystalline solids tend to show anisotropism.

Amorphous solids tend to show isotropism.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Distinguish Between Crystalline and Amorphous Solids

Answer: The difference between amorphous and crystalline solids are discussed below:

  1. Crystalline solids are arranged in a regular pattern, whereas the amorphous solids do not show a regular arrangement.

  2. Due to this arrangement, the crystalline solids tend to possess the short-range order and long-range order, while the amorphous solids only possess a shorter range order.

  3. Crystalline solids possess a sharper melting point, while the amorphous solids melt over a wide range of different temperatures.

  4. Crystalline solids have definite heat of fusion while amorphous solids do not have a specific heat of fusion.

  5. Crystalline solids exhibit a cleaner and distinct edge when they are cut with a knife,  while the amorphous solid show irregular patterns when cut with a knife.

  6. Crystalline solids are anisotropic in nature, while amorphous solids possess isotropism.

  7. Crystalline solids are known to be true solids, and on the other hand, the amorphous solids are referred to as pseudo solids or even supercooled liquids.

2. What are the Properties of a Crystalline Solid?

Answer: The properties of a crystalline solid are as follows:

  1. Crystalline solids possess a three-dimensional structure.

  2. The ions in the crystalline solids have an arrangement of a longer order.

  3. The bonds between the different atoms, molecules, and ions are very strong.

  4. Crystalline solids have sharp melting points.

  5. The different physical properties of the crystalline solids such as the electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, mechanical strength, and refractive index are different along with the different directions.

  6. Crystalline solids are amongst the most stable solids when compared to the others.

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