Difference between Atomic Structure and Crystal Structure

What is the Difference between Atomic Structure and Crystal Structure?

Atomic structure vs. crystal structure: Any matter on earth exists as a collection of atoms. A crystal is a regularly bonded solid structure. An atomic structure can be defined as the structure of the positive nucleus and the negatively charged electrons in an atom while the crystal structure is the specific arrangement of atoms and how they are interconnected making a whole uniform structure. Read this one if unclear about the crystal structure.

The following are the differences between atomic structure and crystal structure.

What is the Difference between Atomic Structure and Crystal Structure?

  1. Arrangement: The arrangement in atomic structure and crystal structure do vary: In an atomic structure, the arrangement of particles is in subatomic form in atoms while for the crystal structure the arrangement is composed of atoms or molecules which are usually in crystal form.
  2. Mass: Atomic structure is smaller in mass compared to crystal structure. A crystal structure has a bigger mass as compared to an atomic crystal because of the high composition of molecules in a crystal structure. When calculated, the molecular strands in a crystal structure is found to be higher than that of an atom.
  3. Structure: An atomic structure is made up of complex structure: The structure of an atom is considered more complex than that of a crystal. While a crystal structure is more organized, the atomic structure lacks the organization of the molecular strands which makes it more complex.
  4. Components: The components making up the atomic structure and crystal structure are completely different: An atomic structure is made up of subatomic particles which include electrons, protons and neutrons while the crystal structure is made up of only cat-ions and anions which are free from electrons. The crystal structure can be made up of metallic ions. Protons are positively charged and electrons negatively charged.
  5. Variants: The electrons in the atomic structure are always constant: This is due to the direct proportionality between the number of electrons and the number of protons in an atom. In an atom, the number of protons is usually the same as the number of electrons, therefore, cannot fluctuate unlike in a crystal structure where the number of electrons varies between elements.
  6. Strength: A crystal structure is stronger compared to an atomic structure: This is because a crystal structure is bonded with a strong covalent bond between the particles thus will require more energy to break compared to the atomic structure which is bonded by ionic bond which is weaker. Less energy is therefore required to break the bonds in an atomic bond.
  7. Solubility: An atomic structure is soluble in water while crystal structure is insoluble: An atomic structure is soluble in water since its molecules can easily break up and dissolve in water owing to their weak structure unlike the crystal structure which as a greater bond between the molecules which then would require more energy to break up in order to dissolve in water and thus this makes it be insoluble in water.
  8. Electricity: Atomic structure conducts electricity:The atomic structure has the capability of conducting electricity thanks to the presence of electrons within it which allows current to flow through it. A crystal structure on the other hand lacks free electrons hence limits its ability to conduct electricity.
  1. Shape: Atomic structure has a definite shape:An atomic structure takes a definite shape thanks to the ionic bonds which have each particle connected to the next in a certain order. This is different from the crystal structure that does not have a definite bond thanks to the covalent bonding structure.
  1. Electrons: Atomic structure has electrons which make up the atom: For the atom to be complete, there must be electrons, protons, and neutrons which all make up an atom. The electrons play a major role in the atom as it is responsible for all the activities of an atom such as bonding, conducting electricity and solubility as without it an atom may be very functionless. The crystal structure, on the other hand, does not have electrons but has metal ions which are responsible for its activities.

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