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Sodium chloride is a famous binary phase. It features two elements: Na and Cl.

In materials chemistry, a binary phase is a chemical compound containing two different elements. Some binary phases compounds are molecular, e.g. carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). More typically binary phase refers to extended solids. Famous examples are the two polymorphs of zinc sulfide.[1]

Phases with higher degrees of complexity feature more elements, e.g. three elements in ternary phases, four elements in quaternary phases,


  1. ^ Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-08-037941-8.