Definition - What does Anisotropic mean?

Anisotropic is a property of an object that enables it to have different values when observed or measured from different directions. Anisotropic properties of a material include refractive index, tensile strength and absorbency. An example of an anisotropic property is the light emitted from a polarizer, or wood, which is more difficult to split against the wood grains. Anisotropic is the opposite of Isotropic. An isotropic object has identical values when measured or observed in all directions.

Petropedia explains Anisotropic

Anisotropic properties can be applied in various industrial fields such as the chemical industry (chemicals), computer graphics, physics, real world imagery, geology and geophysics, acoustics in the field of medicine, engineering and material sciences, microfabrication, neuroscience, and in atmospheric radiative transfer.

When a crystal is observed, its physical and mechanical properties mostly differ in orientation. This can be seen when looking at a model of the crystalline structure where atoms slip over one another or distort in relation to one another more in some directions than in others. When there is a variation in the properties of the material having different crystallographic orientations, the material is said to be in an anisotropic state.

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