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I am curious whether it is possible or not to make any solution of a specific compound into a crystal lattice or into an amorphous solid? I know that crystals form under specific conditions but seem to be very wide spread throughout nature and chemistry labs. Therefore, I am curious if it is possible to turn something that usually is a crystalline structure into an amorphous solid. For example, can sodium pyruvate be naturally found as an amorphous solid or can it be made synthetically into such by some means?

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  • $\begingroup$ While Maurice's answer isn't fully correct, something like sodium pyruvate would be difficult to make amorphous . $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Oct 4, 2023 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ Very simple crystalline substances like water can still form amorphous glasses, but you need astounding cooling rates on the order of millions of degrees per second. $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 1:04

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Whether a substance crystallizes or not largely depends on the rate of cooling or loss of solvent.

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    $\begingroup$ I just want to clarify that the first link to Phys.org states "Splat quenching can cool the material as high as 108 Kelvins per second." when the correct text is "Splat quenching can cool the material as high as 10⁸ Kelvins per second.", which is a very different thing. Phys.org has a tendency to botch science articles one way or another... $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ @NicolauSakerNeto, thanks for that note. You are truly an exponent of proper mathematical formatting. Oops... I'd better log off before I make another pointless comment. $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ I see how rapidly freezing a solution would create an amorphous solid. However, this method is only possible if you have an equipment capable of freezing at astounding rates. Is there not some other way of creating and amorphous solid, for example, by mixing with another compound or such? $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ @BrianBlumberg, certainly! Mixing pure chemicals may produce a mix that crystallizes slowly, or not at all. Pure SiO2 forms quartz crystals, but mix silica with potash, washing soda and other substances, and you've a recipe for glass. wikihow.com/Make-Glass $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 17:52
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Solids made of covalent bonds like $\ce{SiO2}$ can be made into an amorphous solid. Solids made of ions like $\ce{NaCl}$ cannot be made into an amorphous solid. They can be made of piles of rather tiny crystals, but this is not a glass.

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    $\begingroup$ That's not true: chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/46/… $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Oct 4, 2023 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ Depends on how small you consider a speck to still be a crystal. Spin-cooling, vapor deposition onto a material with different atomic spacing, etc. can create effectively amorphous ionic solids. $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2023 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ I think it's possible to make very heavily radiation-damaged ionic salts which you could argue are amorphous on a microscopic scale, though the damage tends to create byproducts. $\endgroup$ Oct 5, 2023 at 1:14
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Usually it is possible for a large range of solids by using different techniques, for example, a lot of vacancies can generate an amorphous phases. In small scales, technique of deposition can be used to generate amorphous materials such as amorphous silicon which is used for solar panels, while the common structure is a solid with a diamond lattice, in the same group carbon also has amorphous phases.

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