MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Explain why salt water forms cubic crystals and ice is hexagonal?

Date: Tue Dec 4 16:49:42 2007
Posted By: Uncle Al Schwartz, Organic synthetic chemist
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1196736503.Ph

Purification by selective crystallization is not well supported by theory.
 Thermodynamics can explain after observation but often not usefully
predict before. sodium chloride (halite); cubic Ice, hexagonal The drug industry desperately funds research to predict crystal structure from molecular structure. After more than a decade of efforts not much has obtained. Crystal structure of simple ionic salts depends on radius ratios of the ions, J. Chem. Ed. 62(3) 215 (1985) It's complicated! Water is tremendously studied. Water is not well understood. Even if we don't understand it we can observe it. Wow. All that... and it's only water.

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