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Chemical and physical properties of matter

Chemical properties of matter are an ability to enter in interaction with other substances or to react independently (to decay, to incorporate) with formation of new substances. In this article we will consider a physical properties of matter in more details

All substances take the form of a solid, liquid or gas. Many can exist in all three forms, depending on the conditions. For instance water can be a solid (ice), liquid (water), or gas (steam). In addition, substances have several other properties, such as density, and strength and elasticity if solid, and viscosity if liquid. These are the properties of matter possessed by a substance.

Activity of molecules - Chemical and physical properties of matter

Water - Chemical and physical properties of matter

Chemical and physical properties of matter

Left to right: Differences in activity of molecules in ice, water and steam (click to increase image)

Chemical and physical properties of matter

Water can be a solid (ice), a liquid, or a gas (steam) (click to increase image)

All liquid or gaseous substances become solid if they are cooled to a sufficiently low temperature. Helium, which is a gas at room temperature, is a solid at temperatures below - 271° C (- 456° F). On the other hand, tungsten is a solid metal at temperatures up to 3,410° C (6,170° F). At this temperature, the melting point, the solid becomes a liquid. If heated further, a liquid will eventually boil and become a vapor or gas.

The differences between a solid, liquid and gas lie in the activity of its molecules or atoms. All substances are made up of these minute particles, and in solids they are packed closely together, like people in a crowd. This gives solids a definite shape and volume of their own. In liquids, the molecules move about within a certain space, like people on a dance floor. Liquids have a definite volume but no shape. They find their own level but have to be kept in a container. In gases, the molecules move freely about, and gases will fill any available space. They can be kept only in a closed container.

The closeness and size of the molecules gives a solid, liquid or gas its density. This is the mass of a substance divided by its volume. Gases have low densities and solids high densities. The arrangement of molecules in a solid gives it strength and elasticity. That is why rubber is elastic and wood is not. The size and shape of molecules in a liquid gives it viscosity. Syrup flows very slowly and has a high viscosity, whereas water has a low viscosity.

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