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Using Common properties of Solids in Life

  1. Oct 8, 2007 #1
    Hey, I just finished a lab on classifying solids based on their physical properties. I was just curious about some of the solids that I investigated. Wax (a non-polar molecular solid) and salt (ionic solid) were pretty weak -either melted or dissolved compared to network solids like clay and sand. Why is this? So do people never use these types of things to build or do anything practical with because tehy break, why do they break :S it baffles me. I suppose I didn't fully understand that concept. And also, I don't understand how you can have soft metals and hard metals. Why cant you build things with any kind of metal,I meant once you use enough of it, Can''t it be strong enough. Or do we just use some metals because they are cheaper or you need to use less. HOW can metals be strong :) My teacher draws really confusing diagrams with electrons and bonding, does anyone know what he might mean by these pictures?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2007 #2
    I doubt you melted any salt...it has an extremely high melting point. *jabs herself with the finger of stupid knowiness)

    The confusing pictures should demonstrate that how tough an item or element is, or it's properties, are based on it's molecular setup. Sorry to go back to the basics, but water has very loose molecules, almost no structure, but just enough to keep it together, gasses have little to no structure at all, and solids have a variety of molecules arranged in different ways.


    Salt structure-very firm and unbendylike

    Wax is slick, a lipid if I'm not mistaken. It is easily broken due to it's characteristics, which are based on what molecules it's made of and how they are arranged.

    We don't use these to build because...yea, they kinda break alot. Wax house? Uh-uh.
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