Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published in Physics, by Henry Semat and Robert Katz, New York: Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1958. Copyright © 1958 Henry Semat and Robert Katz. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


A substance which has a definite chemical composition can exist in one or more phases, such as the vapor phase, the liquid phase, or the solid phase. When two or more such phases are in equilibrium at any given temperature and pressure, there are always surfaces of separation between the two phases.

In the solid phase a pure substance generally exhibits a well-defined crystal structure in which the atoms or molecules of the substance are arranged in a repetitive lattice. Many substances are known to exist in several different solid phases at different conditions of temperature and pressure. These solid phases differ in their crystal structure. Thus ice is known to have six different solid phases, while sulphur has four different solid phases.

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