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What is a crystal?(1)
The content of this page is deliberately minimal to give students chance to consider what they are looking at and
what the common features of crystals might be, before seeing ‘the answer’.

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What is a crystal?(2)
If you have already looked at some of the later pages on atoms, you will notice that here we are just talking about
the particles of a substance without going into atoms and structures. This will be good enough to explain what we want: we only need to consider atoms when talking about chemical changes, without adding unnecessary details.

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Notes on ‘Think for yourself’ question

Why is a nice crystal a sign of a pure sample of a substance?
If all of the particles are the same you can form a neat pattern. Mixtures of substances don’t usually give the neat patterns needed to form crystals. You do not see crystals of wood, for example.

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