At the microscopic scale, a solid has these properties:
- The atoms[] or molecules[] that comprise the solid are packed close together.
- These constituent elements have fixed positions []in space relative to each other. This accounts for the solid's rigidity.
- If sufficient force is applied, either of these properties can be violated, causing permanent deformation.
- Because any solid has some thermal energy, its atoms vibrate. However, this movement is very small and very rapid, and cannot be observed under ordinary conditions.
The branch of physics[] that deals with solids is called solid-state physics[], and is a type of condensed matter physics []. Materials science[] is primarily concerned with properties of solids such as strength and phase[] transformations. It overlaps strongly with solid state physics. Solid-state chemistry[] overlaps both of these fields, but is especially concerned with the synthesis of novel materials.
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