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Why can we approximate a lattice as being infinite when we describe it as an ideal crystal? Is there any physical reason or is it just because the number of ions (/atoms) is so huge that we can treat an ion in the middle of the crystal as if it was surrounded by an infinite number of them, and just forget what happens on the surface?

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    $\begingroup$ Just like you said, ions in the middle feel pretty much the same way as if they were in an infinite crystal. There is no mystery and no deeper reason behind it. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Jun 26 '16 at 7:56

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