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Q & A: forming solids

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What is crystal lattice formation and how does it work? I have heard that reverse sublimation and sublimation are the same thing. Is this true?
- Chloe
A:
"Crystal lattice formation" sounds like a fancy description of "freezing'. When atoms or molecules arrange in a regular spatially repeating pattern (a 'crystal lattice') we say they've frozen.

Reverse sublimation means that a crystal grows by accumulating atoms or molecules from a gas. Sublimation means that the atoms or molecules evaporate directly from the solid to the gas. Obviously these two processes are closely related, since one is the reverse of the other. There are laws relating the rate of a process to the rate of its reverse. However, it would be odd to call them the same process.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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