I'm studying polymorphism and came across the terms "enantiotropic" and "monotropic" transformations. The first is described as reversible, whereas the latter, irreversible due to metastability. But what does "reversible" and "irreversible" means practically? What exactly is metastability? What makes these two types of polymorphism distinguishable between each other?

For instance, it's used as an example of monotropic polymorphism the transformation of graphite to diamond. However, the same source claims the reverse operation is possible. As for enantiotropic polymorphism, it used the example of silica polymorphs (cristobalite and alpha-quartz) which also can be transformed from one another. If both are reversible, why are they different?


1 Answer 1


In enantiotropic there exist an transition temperature between two crystalline state in equilibrium but reverese is true for monotropic


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