Introduction to Physical Science/1.7

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States Of MatterEdit

This experiment will demonstrate three of the four basic states of matter. The states of matter which an object or substance takes on is based on the temperature of that subject. Matter has four basic states that can occur in nature. The lowest temperatures generate solids which make up the majority of physical objects on earth. The next state, with slightly higher temperature required is liquids. Liquids are also very common on earth. The next state of matter is the gases which require even more heat that liquids. The air we breath is made up entirely of gases The final state of matter is a plasma. Plasmas require temperatures far beyond the norm for earth-bound objects. The only truly common example of a plasma on earth is fire. In this experiment we will deal with gases, liquids, and solids.

The ExperimentEdit

For this lab we will use water to demonstrate the states of matter. Remember all the following steps when writing a laboratory report.

  1. Read the entire section before writing your own report
  2. Follow procedure (see section 1.1)
  3. Be very careful to observe all reactions that occur within the experimental system
  4. If you have any questions about anything that is asked of you in this text ask your instructor for help

First, gather your materials together

  1. One Pyrex™ beaker of at least a 75ml volume
  2. Several ice cubes
  3. One glass stirring rod
  4. One gas/alcohol burner with a stand or a hot plate
  5. Thermometer

Ice is the solid state of water, liquid water is the liquid form, and water vapor is the gaseous form. The goal of this experiment will be to find the temperatures at which water changes state from a solid (ice) to a liquid (liquid water) to a gas (water vapor-as liquid water boils). You will use your materials to change the state of the water and to record the temperatures that you measure.


First take the ice cubes and place them in the Pyrex™ beaker. Place the thermometer in the tube in contact with the ice. Then, placing the beaker on top of the burner stand, light the burner, and begin to heat the cubes. You should start to see the ice melting slowly. Record the temperature displayed on the thermometer every thirty seconds until the water has completely evaporated from the beaker. When you are finished with this experiment; extinguish your beaker and cleanup your lab area.

Vocabulary and QuestionsEdit

solids are the common form of physical objects on earth; they are object that are neither in a liquid or gaseous form.