polymorphism, of minerals, property of crystallizing in two or more distinct forms. Calcium carbonate is dimorphous (two forms), crystallizing as calcite or aragonite. Titanium dioxide is trimorphous; its three forms are brookite, anatase (or octahedrite), and rutile. Polymorphism of an element is called allotropy. The process was discovered (1821) by Eilhard Mitscherlich. See isomorphism; mineral; crystal.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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