What are allotropes? Sketch the structure of two allotropes of carbon namely diamond and graphite. What is the impact of structure on physical properties of two allotropes?
Allotropy is the existence of an element in more than one form, having the same chemical properties but different physical properties. The various forms of an element are called allotropes.
The rigid 3-D structure of diamond makes it a very hard substance. In fact, diamond is one of the hardest naturally-occurring substances. It is used as an abrasive and for cutting tools.
It has sp2 hybridised carbon, arranged in the form of layers. These layers are held together by weak van der Walls’ forces. These layers can slide over each other, making graphite soft and slippery. Therefore, it is used as a lubricant.
Allotropes: Allotropes are the different forms of an element which are having same chemical properties but different physical properties due to their structures.
In diamond, carbon is SP3 -hybridized. Since, diamond is three dimensional network solid, it is hardest substance with high density whereas graphite has a layered structure. The various layers are formed by van der Waals forces of attraction that’s why graphite is soft and slippery.