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It's easy to understand the continuous phase of crystals (e.g. covalent like diamond or ionic like NaCl ). But how does the network ends up ? Network stitching by extra bonds (compare to the pattern) within the same molecumes ? H or other atoms/molecules plugged at the free bonds ? Or just starving bonds ? (which would soon turn into case 2 if not in vacuum, I guess).

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    $\begingroup$ This question is too broad, in my opinion. It depends very much on the material and the experimental conditions $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    May 10, 2017 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ I mentioned diamond an NaCl as 2 typical examples. Let assume ambient conditions. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2017 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ Probably depends a lot on the material and the surface energy. In the case of diamond, the surface is usually terminated by a monolayer of oxygen or hydrogen. $\endgroup$
    – user93237
    May 10, 2017 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ One of the keywords you want to be searching for (if you're not already) is reconstruction. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2017 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Reconstruction can involve both rearrangement and bonding of both intrinsic and foreign atoms. $\endgroup$ May 11, 2017 at 16:02

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