Crystals and minerals can easily be confused as the component of crystals are minerals. They only differ in the chemical structure that gives them two very different chemical properties and hence make them dissimilar despite having similar atoms. To understand the difference, the structure has to be known.
Crystal vs Mineral
The main difference between crystal and mineral is that crystals and minerals are both made up of solid materials that have different chemical compositions and physical properties. Crystals are made up of elements are have regular and orderly arrangements, while the arrangement of elements in minerals is not orderly. These arrangements bring a difference to their chemical properties, making them different.
Crystal is a solid material whose molecules are arranged in a regularly ordered, repeating pattern. The order of molecules may create any kind of structure of a crystal. One common example of a crystal is salt, which is made up of sodium and chloride ions. The internal structure of the salt crystal can be described by a lattice.
The mineral is a natural substance that occurs in the earth. It is typically solid, but there are some exceptions. They can be divided into two groups, namely common minerals and rare minerals. A mineral is a naturally occurring solid with specific chemical composition and a structure that does not change. Most minerals typically have a crystalline structure that facilitates the specific composition. Its structure, however, cannot be described by a lattice.
Comparison Table Between Crystal and Mineral
|Parameters of Comparison||Crystal||Mineral|
|Also Called||Crystals are also called organic minerals.||Minerals are the generalized term for inorganic minerals.|
|Structure||Crystal has repeated and organized chemical structures.||Minerals do not have an organization of chemical structure.|
|Lattice||The internal structure of a crystal can be described by a set lattice due to uniformity.||Minerals do not have a lattice structure.|
|Occurrence||Crystals may or may not be naturally occurring.||Minerals are naturally occurring.|
|Appearance||Crystal usually is transparent and reflective.||Minerals are usually coloured.|
What is Crystal?
Crystal is usually used as a noun. It refers to a clear, transparent kind of rock. It also refers to rocks that are made up of many of these clear parts of the rock. It’s a mineral that is formed through pressure and heat deep within the Earth. There are many kinds of crystals, but they’re all made up of the same basic materials.
The word crystal comes from the Greek word krystallos which means ice. The word has evolved, and there is a new definition. Crystal now means a clear, transparent and solid substance that is usually made up of a specific arrangement of atoms, and it can be found in nature and man-made items.
Every kind of crystal has its unique arrangement of atoms, but they all have the same basic properties. Crystals have a defined external shape, they have a particular internal structure, they have a fixed symmetry, and they have a specific way of growing. In most cases, they also have fixed internal surfaces.
The structure of the crystal can be determined by looking at the structure of the unit cell. The unit cell is the smallest repeating unit of the crystal structure that resembles the entire crystal structure. In addition, with all crystals, their internal structure extends out to form a three–dimensional network with the help of hydrogen bonds, van der Waals forces, or, in the case of forces of attraction, covalent bonding.
What is Mineral?
A mineral is a material that is naturally occurring and has an orderly atomic structure. Metals, non-metals, and gases are not minerals because they lack this ordered arrangement of atoms. A mineral can be considered a pure substance that has no further decomposition into simpler substances.
In addition, it is naturally occurring, solid, usually inorganic, often crystalline, and typically has an ordered atomic arrangement. Most minerals have a specific crystal structure and are classified by their crystal systems, such as cubic or hexagonal. Under general definitions, a mineral is an element or chemical compound that is naturally occurring, has a specific chemical composition and atomic arrangement and has particular physical properties.
The mineral is something that is found on the Earth. You can usually tell that it’s a mineral because it is either solid, perfect, shiny, white, grey, black, or it is in the shape of a rock. There are millions of minerals on Earth, and most of them are not good to eat.
They are classified into different groups based on their chemical composition, such as oxides, halides, sulfides, and others. Mining companies typically search for minerals in the Earth’s crust because of their valuable nature and use in a variety of applications, such as in electronics and manufacturing industries.
Main Differences Between Crystal and Mineral
- Crystals are made up of a homogenous chemical structure, and minerals are not homogenous mixtures.
- Crystals are made up of unique repeating patterns of atoms, and minerals do not have any such repeating patterns in their structure.
- Crystals can also be found in nature, meaning they are naturally occurring, but minerals are created by forces of nature.
- Crystals are known as organic minerals, while minerals are known as inorganic minerals.
- Crystals have similar chemical properties throughout their structures, whereas minerals may differ in their chemical properties as their structure is irregular.
Crystals are made from a solid solution, while minerals are made from a natural occurrence. In other words, crystals are created from a solution of chemicals that are usually in a liquid state. When the solution cools down, it makes a solid object. In contrast, the natural occurrences of minerals are from a solid that has been formed from a natural event, such as a volcano.
Both crystals and minerals are an essential part of today’s life, and industries around the world, and hence the difference between the two must be known such that they can be differentiated, and working with them becomes not only efficient but also sustainable considering that they both are non-renewable.