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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