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Thread: Atomic Crystal Structure

  1. #1 Atomic Crystal Structure 
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    Sep 2014
    I've been looking into crystal structure. I know that it's the arrangement of atoms or molecules in a material, but what exactly does that mean? How does it work? And does this occur naturally? Let's just use plain old carbon. Carbon has a hexagonal crystal structure. Can someone please elaborate on this for me?

    Last edited by jwscienceman; October 10th, 2014 at 02:01 PM.
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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    Carbon atoms have a valency of four, which is a measure of their combining power. When combining with other carbon atoms it will tend to link up with four other atoms. In the case of graphite three of these links are in the same plane, while the fourth link extends either below or above that plane.

    This necessarily produces the hexagonal structure, as you can see. However, when the carbon-carbon bonds are arranged symmetrically the carbon forms diamond, with its remarkable suite of properties.

    Other structures are possible. Google fullerenes.

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