Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Isotropic and Anisotropic

Difference Between Isotropic and Anisotropic

Isotropic Mineral

Isotropic vs. Anisotropic

“Isotropic” and “anisotropic” are two contrasting adjectives and nouns used to describe the properties of materials and minerals. Both “isotropic” and “anisotropic” also contain the element of direction in their descriptions.

“Anisotropic” refers to the properties of a material that is dependent on the direction. Another condition that can fit the anisotropic definition is the presence of different properties in different directions. A different chemical bonding in all directions is also a condition for anisotropy.

A mineral can be considered as anisotropic if it allows some light to pass through it. The mineral’s upper polar system allows light to pass through; in truth, it affects the polarization of light. The velocity of light is also different, and there is double refraction (which means that light is split in two directions).

In anisotropic minerals, double refraction can lead to either of its two possible types – uniaxial (meaning one optic axis) or biaxial (two axes).

Anisotropic materials are often found in different fields like computer graphics, chemistry, real-world imagery, physics, geography and geophysics, medical acoustics, material science and engineering, microfabrication, and neuroscience.

On the other hand, isotropic materials or minerals have the uniform properties in all directions; isotropic materials are said to be independent in direction or manner. An implication of a material or mineral being isotropic is that the chemical bonds within it are all identical in all directions.

Difference Between Isotropic and Anisotropic-1

Anisotropic Mineral

An isotropic mineral can appear or remain dark when light passes through it; the uniform structure of the mineral blocks the light from all directions. In addition, light doesn’t affect the mineral’s polarization or the direction of light. The velocity of light is in all directions, and the index of refraction is everywhere.

Isotropic materials are found in many industries like mathematics, physics, materials science, geography, economics, and biology. In terms of word structure, “anisotropic” is derived from “isotropic.” The Greek prefix “an” indicates a contrast in meaning and use from the attached base or root word. In this case, the root word is “isotropic,” which literally means “equal direction.” “Iso” is the Greek word for “equal,” while “tropic” means “direction” in the Greek language.

Both anisotropic and isotropic can be used as nouns and adjectives. They can also form other parts of speech, such as adverbs or other adjectives.


1.“Isotropic” and “anisotropic” are related words that are opposites of each other. “Isotropic” is a noun and adjective that describes something with identical properties in all directions.
2.As its opposite, anisotropic also serves the same purpose (as a noun and adjective) for materials with different properties in all directions.
3.“Isotropic” is independent of direction, while “anisotropic” materials are highly dependent on it.
4.Anisotropic minerals can be penetrated by light due to their inconsistent properties in all directions. The opposite is true for isotropic minerals; light cannot penetrate the mineral because the mineral’s properties block the light in any direction.
5.Chemical bonding is another point of difference. Anisotropic minerals have different and inconsistent chemical bonding. Isotropic minerals, on the other hand, exhibit consistent and uniform chemical bonding within the mineral.
6.Anisotropic minerals have the characteristic of double refraction, which can be classified as uniaxial or biaxial. Meanwhile, isotropic minerals don’t have this characteristic.
7.In terms of structure, “anisotropic” is a derived term. It is a word that came from “isotropic,” which means “equal direction.” The addition of the Greek prefix “an” makes the word’s meaning the complete opposite of its root or base word. This is also true for other words with this prefix.

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