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Inorganic Thermodynamics

Aluminum oxide (Al2O3) is a widely used industrial abrasive (corundum, emery), with its specific application depending on the hardness of the crystal

a) How is the hardness of an ionic material related to its lattice energy?

b) Knowing the relationships between lattice energy and: 1) charges and 2) atomic radii, would you
have predicted that Al2O3 is hard? Explain your answer.

Solution Preview

(a) Lattice energy is defined as the energy released when ions come together from infinite separation to form a crystal. Alternatively, the Lattice energy, can also be defined as the amount of energy requried to separate a mole of the solid (s) into a gas (g) of its ions. Hardness and softness are related to the numbers of ...