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Covalent network solids are one of the four major types of solids you need to know about in AP chemistry. The others are ionic, metallic, and molecular solids.

The Basics ⚛️

  • Covalent network solids are held together by covalent bonds in a large network.
  • They are different from molecular solids because atoms or molecules are covalently bonded to each other, not held together by intermolecular forces.
  • Diamond and graphite are examples of covalent network solids made up of a network of carbon atoms:

Source: Science Media Group

Properties

  • They are usually hard and brittle.
  • Covalent bonds are very strong, so covalent network solids typically have the highest melting points out of all four types of solids.
  • They usually don't conduct electricity because valence electrons are localized within covalent bonds. 
  • An exception to this is graphite, where only three of four valence electrons are involved in the covalent network and the fourth is delocalized. 
  • They are insoluble in water. 
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