Free course

Minerals and the crystalline state

Free statement of participation on completion

Rocks are made of minerals and, as minerals are natural crystals, the geological world is mostly a crystalline world. This free course, Minerals and the crystalline state, introduces the study of minerals and crystal structures, using online text and interactive activities, including questions and answers, video clips, slidecasts and a Digital Kit.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • give, with an appropriate example, the meaning of the terms phase, phase boundary and phase transformation, and interpret stability fields in terms of pressures and/or temperatures using a phase diagram
  • describe and recognise, giving examples, various physical properties of minerals, including lustre, cleavage, hardness and density
  • describe, giving mineral examples, the main differences between metallic, ionic and covalent structures and their type of bonding
  • explain the significance of various types of defects in crystals
  • explain the meaning of the terms lattice, unit cell, reflections and rotational symmetry, and how these relate to crystal systems.