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Homework Help: Why do atoms in a solid act like hard balls?

  1. Dec 15, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Why can we assume that atoms in a solid material act like hard balls?

    3. The attempt at a solution
    because they are tightly packed together when in a solid state
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2015 #2
    It is not really true, many solids have structures that are not like those of close-packed spheres.

    It is approximately true because of the Pauli exclusion principle. But I do not know if that answer fits with what you learned in your course.
  4. Dec 15, 2015 #3


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    I will counter that with
    Why do YOU think the atoms in a liquid or gas act any differently ?

    Do you think there is any difference between individual atoms of H and O in liquid water
    compared with those in solid water ... eg. ice ?

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