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In this essay I will look at the physical properties of four different solids and explain why they act the way they do in terms of bonding and structure.

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Introduction

The Structure of Solids We all know that different substances act in different ways. The properties a substance displays depends on their structure and the different types of bonding they have. In this essay I will look at the physical properties of four different solids and explain why they act the way they do in terms of bonding and structure. Sodium Chloride Sodium Chloride is formed by strong electrostatic attractions between the sodium and chloride ions. Because the ions are small they are closer together meaning the electrostatic forces are stronger than usual. This is why Sodium Chloride has a high melting and boiling point as it takes a lot of heat energy to break the bonds. Solid Sodium Chloride is not a conductor of electricity. This is because there are no free electrons which are able to move around. However molten sodium chloride undergoes electrolysis, which involves conduction of electricity because of the movement of the ions. ...read more.

Middle

This is why Sodium is a conductor of electricity whereas Sodium Chloride cannot as there are no free electrons. Metals have high melting and boiling points because of how strong the metallic bonds are. The strength of the bond is different for different metals and depends on the number of delocalised electrons between them and on how the atoms are structured. For example Group 1 metals such as Sodium have quite low melting and boiling points because each atom can only offer one outer electron to become delocalised and for the metallic bond. Furthermore Group 1 atoms are relatively large atoms meaning that their nucleus is further away from the delocalised electron meaning the electrostatic attraction isn't as great. Also Group 1 elements are not structured efficiently ( they have 8 co-ordinate bonds compared to 12 in most metals) this means that they are not able to form as many bonds meaning the heat energy doesn't have to break as many bonds. ...read more.

Conclusion

The electrons form temporary dipoles as they move throughout the layers. These dipoles cause opposite dipoles in the sheets above and below and carry on through the rest of the structure. The carbon atoms are arranged in a trigonal planar structure. This causes the layers to form regular hexagons. The distance between carbon atoms within a layer is less than the distance between layers. Between the layers are weak van der Waal's forces this means that the layer structure is easy to break, which is why Graphite is used in pencils as it is easy to sharpen and marks the paper like lead. Graphite has a high melting point and boiling point as the covalent bonds have to be broken throughout the structure as breaking the bonds between layers is not enough. The delocalised electrons within the layers mean that electricity can flow through Graphite. If a piece of graphite is attached into a circuit electrons can "fall off" on end of the sheet and be replaced with new ones at the other end. ...read more.

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