A network covalent solid (or just network solid) is composed of a network of atoms of the exact same or different elements connected come each other by covalent bonds. The network the covalent binding extends throughout the crystalline structure. We can think that this framework as being rather favor a gigantic molecule - except that the number of atoms is no fixed, and will rely on the size of the structure.

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Diamond is a network that carbon atoms connected to each other by covalent binding

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A network solid go not have actually discrete molecules; the the smallest amount that a network solid that can be identified thus is dubbed a formula unit. Instances of network covalent solids include diamond and graphite (both allotrope of carbon), and also the chemistry compounds silicon carbide and also boron-carbide.

Network covalent solids tend to it is in hard and brittle (graphite is a significant exception, because its covalent network take away the type of a two-dimensional sheet of graphene simply one atom thick), and have high melting and boiling points. Silicon carbide (also well-known as carborundum) is a link of silicon and carbon. Boron carbide is a compound of boron and also carbon.

Both silicon carbide and boron carbide are hard ceramic materials that have many applications. Silicon carbide is offered in the produce of automotive brake and also clutch parts, together an abrasive material, and as the main component in bullet proof vests and also body armour. Boron carbide is most likely the second hardest material after diamond, and is provided to provide armour plating in armoured vehicles and also military aircraft.


Boron carbide tiles are supplied to carry out armour for helicopter seatsImage: 3M Deutschland GmbH

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The hardness and also high melting and boiling point out of network covalent solids stems native the reality that the covalent bond holding lock together space not quickly broken. Diamond is the hardest substance known to man, and also has a melting allude of practically four thousand degrees Celsius (4,000 °C).

many network covalent solids are bad conductors of power because every one of the valence electron are involved in covalent bonds. Graphite is among the few exceptions, as just thee of the 4 valence electron in the carbon atoms are involved in covalent bonding; the 4th valence electron is delocalised, and can hence move freely between the graphene layers, acting together a present carrier.

Network covalent solids are usually insoluble, because the attraction between the solvent molecules and also the covalently bonded atoms is much too weak to get rid of the the strength of the covalent bonds.