There are 4 major types of solid: molecular, covalent network, ionic, and metallic. Let's dive in!
In AP Chemistry, you learn about 3 main states of matter: solids, liquids, and gasses. While liquids and gasses are certainly important, in this article we're going to be discussing the properties and classification of solids and the 4 types of solids that you will have to be able to identify on the AP Chem exam.
Metallic solids are metal atoms held together by metallic bonds.
Metallic bonding is the sharing of a bunch of delocalized valence electrons that move freely throughout the solid. (sometimes called the "sea of electron" model)
The metal atoms have a uniform distribution.
Metallic solids vary a lot when it comes to melting points. Tungsten has the highest melting point at 3422°C, whereas mercury has the lowest at -38.83°C.
They are shiny, strong, and malleable.
They can conduct electricity because of their delocalized electrons.
Adding another element to a metallic solid can form an alloy with new properties.
Congratulations! You now know about the properties of the 4 major types of solids in AP Chemistry. In applying this knowledge on the exam, you will be asked to identify a solid by its properties. For example, if I were to ask you what type of solid a compound was if it was brittle, melted at 1500 degrees, and conducted electricity when dissolved, you should know that this is an ionic solid. There are tons of practice questions out there just like this. Good luck!